Well, as we're advancing toward the semi-finals of the playoffs, I will be reviewing the seasons of teams as they're eliminated from the playoffs. Obviously, the last team reviewed will be the one that wins the Cup.
Now the second team to be eliminated from playoff contention: The Colorado Avalanche.
My prediction: I predicted the team would finish third in the Northwest Division at least on the playoff bubble.
The truth: They were the second team in both the Western Conference and in the league to be officially eliminated from playoff contention.
So what happened?: On one hand, the injury bug took a significant bite out of the team this season. Peter Mueller hasn't played a game this season while both the newly-acquired Tomas Fleischmann and former rookie sensation T.J. Galiardi will both close out the season on the IR: all of this has a significant effect on their scoring ability. Add Kyle Quincey and Kyle Cumiskey among those battling the injury bug and you start second guessing why you traded away one of the better defensive defensemen in the league...
... so how the team counter this? They gave up on the goaltender who carried them into the playoffs last season, as well as the totally excellent power forward who couldn't immediately find his scoring touch after breaking his hand, for a future backup goaltender in Brian Elliott and a potential all-around defenseman in Erik Johnson, who's decent but only effective at the offensive end of the rink. I understand sometimes to have to hit the rebuild button but unless they land that coveted goaltender and defensive defenseman in free agency; this is going to look really bad next season.
So what's next?: See above. This team still has Matt Duchene and Paul Stasny so they have two solid centers to build around. If Johnson can become everything they want and the right guys either stay or are brought in than it's not too unrealistic to expect them to be back in playoff contention next season. If they pull off the wrong moves, however, then maybe the Colorado to Quebec relocation rumors will swirl (kidding... sort of.)