20 years ago in 2001, the Colorado Avalanche lifted the Stanley Cup after a game 7 victory against the New Jersey Devils, claiming one of, if not the, hardest championship to win in all of sports. Along with the cup, the Avs won the Presidents Trophy, which is awarded to the team which had the most points in the regular season, and gives the top seed to said team.
Fast forward to present day, and the Avalanche have won the Presidents Trophy again and are top seed in the NHL playoffs. Many people are making parallels to the team in 2001, which had loads of talent on it’s whole roster which led them to the legendary cup run.
With players like Nathan MacKinnon, Cale Makar, and the goaltending of Phillip Grubauer, the Avs are slated to make a very deep run this year. And it’s not just the stars that are getting attention, the whole roster is.
Everyone right now is hot, including some previously unknown players, such as Ryan Graves, who had the highest plus minus of any player in the NHL last season. Plus minus refers to the system where a player who is on the ice during a goal will gain a plus, but a minus is when the opposite happens, and the opposing team scores. So it appears that Graves presence is just enough to push the team to score goals. And he has definitely shown this in the playoffs thus far, even if it is only the end of the first round.
The Avalanche played the St Louis Blues in the first round of the playoffs this year, and they swept them, or won 4 games before the Blues won one.
To put that into perspective, the St Louis Blues won the Stanley Cup in 2019, and has made relatively minor changes to their roster since they had won it. This is just how good the Avs appear to be this year.
In just the first round alone, the Avs scored 20 goals. Compare this to the Blues output, which was only 7 goals. Once again to put in perspective how far the Avs are slated to go this season.
It is a very exciting time for hockey fans everywhere because fans are being let back in to arenas due to people getting vaccinated and COVID cases slowing down. And for Avs fans, this is amplified due to the skill of the team they are rooting for.
The Avalanche are slated to play the Vegas Golden Knights or the Minnesota Wild next round, depending on who takes that series.