The Colorado Avalanche began the new season as Stanley Cup favourites, but in the first quarter of the season, the team hadn’t really lived up to those lofty expectations. However, for every rough patch, the Avs have had a reason for their poor play.
From injuries to net minding problems, Covid postponements and more, the team certainly hasn’t had the rub of the green. However, we’ve hit 2022 and the new year has seen a change with this team. They are pretty much as healthy as can be, and we are finally starting to see them shine.
That hasn’t gone unnoticed by new online bookmakers who have quickly shortened the odds on an Avalanche Stanley Cup win. After starting the season with odds of around 7/1, they are generally a 5/1 chance to win the cup now, despite their struggles.
Even with the streak they are currently on, which has seen the team win their last four games, and win nine of their last ten, the Avs are still not top of the Central Division. That currently lies with the Nashville Predators, but with games in hand and the gap closing, it seems only a matter of time before the Avalanche do take that spot.
Avalanche Defensive Stars Leading the Way
What Colorado can offer over and above anyone else, is the defensive setup that they have. This is led by Cale Makar, a player who signed a big money deal in the summer, and he is certainly living up to that.
We’ve not seen an NHL defenceman score 30 goals in a season since Mike Green did this back in the 2008/09 season, showing the kind of achievement this would be. Right now, Cale Makar is on pace to score 40 goals, and 30 seems something he will comfortably pass, barring injuries of course.
He’s not the only player excelling this season either. Devon Toews plays alongside Makar, and would more than likely have been an Olympian alongside his team mate for Team Canada, had NHL players been going to the Olympics in February, something that is no longer happening.
Toews, brought in to be the partner for Makar, has slotted into that position ideally, covering on the back end, and being capable of scoring when the opportunities arise, scoring the game winner on Saturday night against Toronto to highlight exactly that.
Makar is arguably the best in the league, with Toews, he is part of the best partnership in the league, and the Avalanche blue line does not just revolve around these two. Bowen Byram and Sam Girard are two other exciting players, forming a great second pairing, one that would arguably be a top pairing for some of the lower teams in the NHL.
With all of this on the back end, helping one of the best lines in hockey, Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog, it is easy to see why many regard the Colorado Avalanche as strong Stanley Cup favourites.