Will the Avalanche Win the Stanley Cup?

In search of their first title since 2001

Brinley Erbsland, Staff Writer

With a 4-2 win over St. Louis earlier this week, the Colorado Avalanche clinched their playoff spot.

And after a disappointing loss to the Dallas Stars last year in the Western semis, just missing the Western Conference Finals, the Stanley Cup dreams are once again ignited.

The Tampa Bay Lightning, Vegas Golden Knights, Toronto Maple Leafs and Carolina Hurricanes currently have the best betting odds for winning the cup along with the Avalanche. So, let’s examine just how plausible it is for the Avalanche to lift Lord Stanley’s Cup.

First, we have to look at the goaltending, which the Av’s have been steadily rebuilding for the past season after they were forced to use their third string goalie, Michael Hutchinson due to injuries to Phillipp Grubauer and Pavel Francouz. Now, the Avalanche are once again in this situation, with Grubauer finally coming off the NHL’s Covid protocol list. They also recently signed Devan Dubnyk who statistically has been subpar, possibly a third string option in case of more goalie injuries. If, and only if Grubauer and Francouz don’t get injured or Covid, the goaltending for the Avalanche will be solid and reliable. Grubauer has been one of the best goaltenders in the league all season. In the case of third string Dubnyk needing to play, we will most likely see a repeat of last year where the Av’s are out before the WCF. 

Second, their defense. The Avalanche are known for their offense, with Mikko Rantanen, Nathan MacKinnon, and Gabriel Landeskog the most notable names, but their defense have been their saving grace in the midst of injuries and Covid. The Avalanche have outscored opponents 104-67, one of the best statistics of the league. This means that not only are they scoring a lot, but they aren’t getting scored on. The basics of hockey, if you can score and keep the other team from scoring, you can win. With Cale Makar, Samuel Girard, Devon Toews and Ryan Graves, their line combinations offer great defense. 

Third, offense. As previously mentioned, the Av’s are packed with offensive power. They have absolute power in their scorers and even though they have a couple injured/Covid players, this should not hinder their chances. 

The most important aspect to look at is their competition. The Avs must defeat the Minnesota Wild in a best of 7. In eight games this season, the Avalanche beat the Wild five times and lost three. Odds are in the Avalanche favor. The semifinals are a little different, where teams are re-seeded based on their regular season point totals, the Avalanche with 66, and placed into a 1 vs. 4 and 2 vs. 3 bracket. We could see a Avalanche vs Oilers matchup, which would see the star MacKinnon against the superstar Connor McDavid. Truly anything is possible in the semifinals.  Realistically, the Avalanche could face Carolina, Florida, Toronto, Edmonton, Washington, Pittsburgh, New York Islanders, Winnipeg or Montreal as possible competition, and all are worthy opponents that the Avalanche will have trouble with. 

To sum up, the Avalanche have a good team, they have a good chance, but injuries, Covid and the superstars on the other teams pose a distinct threat to seeing the Avalanche lift Lord Stanley’s cup. The Avalanche must be able to show up, which did not happen last year, and their superstars must pull their weight. Overall, I give it a 80% chance they will win the Stanley Cup.