As a lead-up to the new season, here at HockeyBroad we'll both be reviewing How Teams Spent Their Summer Vacation, and also profiling one fan from each team's fandom, covering 30 Teams In 30 Days. The teams will be profiled in order determined by their points standing last season, highest to lowest, with the exception of Chicago, which will be profiled last to coincide with the date of their Training Camp Festival.
Team 28 of 30: the Colorado Avalanche
HOW THE AVALANCHE SPENT THEIR SUMMER VACATION
Last year, the Avalanche started the season quite nicely. But then somewhere after the holidays, team performance rolled downhill, and the team imploded. They traded away a couple of their prime up-and-comers (Kevin Shattenkirk; Chris Stewart); swapped goalies with the Senators; and finished next-to-last in the entire league, barely edging out the Oilers.
So you'd think that the team might've made some big, bold moves this summer. They made a bit of a splash at the Draft to be sure, picking Duncan Siemens and Gabriel Landeskog; the team is definitely looking to the future and rebuilding depth.
But in terms of acquisitions, probably the biggest change is in goal. It was out with Anderson, who carried them into the playoffs in 2010; and then out with Budaj and Elliott; in with Semyon Varmalov and Jean-Sebastien Giguere. What they get with those two goalies with good playoff experience - and Giguere should be a good mentor as Varmalov matures into a full starter role. They should probably be expected to split the load this year.
Elsewhere in the roster, the team collected some grit and experience, although admittedly the Shattenkirk trade left more than a few people scratching their heads (and Blues fans jumping for joy). This year - and likely for another year or two - the Avalanche will be in full-throttle rebuilding mode. After making some recent noise in the playoffs, this team has a lot of work to do if they want to reach the point where they'll be in contention to bring Lord Stanley back to the Mile High city.
New to team - listed on current roster/team acquired from: Jean-Sebastien Giguere (TOR), Jan Hejda (CBJ), Erik Johnson (STL), Chuck Kobasew (MN), Jay McClement (STL), Shane O'Brien (NSH), Semyon Varlamov (WSH)
Players who appeared in games for the team during the 2010-11 season that have been traded or not re-signed/(team now signed with): Craig Anderson (OTT), Peter Budaj (MTL), Brian Elliott (STL), Tomas Fleischmann (FLA), Adam Foote (retired), John-Michael Liles (TOR), Kevin Shattenkirk (STL), Chris Stewart (STL)
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For the Avalanche, we talked with Hanna (on Twitter at @Avs2hawksfan), who has been an Avalanche for two years.
Let's talk a bit about your fandom.
I'm a huge fan of the Avs! I became a fan after attending my first game. The team lost, and was eliminated from the playoffs but it was still amazing. My favorite hockey memory was attending the Avs season opener against the Blackhawks last season. I was 6 rows from the ice and was able to see all my favorite players in one place!
Which player that your team signed/acquired this summer are you most excited to see take the ice this season?
I think I'm most looking forward to our new goalies. While some complained about getting Varlamov, I was extremely excited!
Taking into consideration your team's performance last year/recently, and any player/personnel (coaches, GMs, ownership) changes made in the past few months, talk about your team in 2011-2012: How do you think they've improved (or made worse)? What do they need to work on?
I am still disappointed with some of the moves our team made. Liles is a great example. I think the team needed changes but a coaching change may be what is really needed. This was the worst season the team has had. I'm not sure who will be the next captain but I think a good one might be Erik Johnson. I'm not sure how this season will go and I can't guess with so many leaving and so many young ones coming in.
Whether or not you think your team will make the playoffs, where do you predict your team will place within their conference?
8th in the Western Conference
What was your favorite moment for your team last season?
Favorite memory was Adam Foote's last game. He played with a broken ankle while a crowd cheered so loud they would have to wait to drop the puck!