Dobber's offseason fantasy hockey grades – Colorado Avalanche
For the last 16 years (12 with The Hockey News) Dobber has reviewed each team from a fantasy-hockey standpoint and graded them.
The 17th annual review will appear here on DobberHockey throughout the summer. This is not a review of the likely performance on the ice or in the standings, but in the realm of fantasy hockey.
Impact of changes – The biggest change is the fact that Avalanche used the arrival of Cale Makar to trade Tyson Barrie a year before he could walk away for nothing, and convert he and Kerfoot to land a great secondary centerman in Kadri. And they even got Rosen in the deal who provides a bit of insurance in case Makar stumbles or gets injured. The second biggest change was losing Varlamov to free agency. Now Grubauer is the de facto No.1 in town, as we anticipated would happen a year ago when they cleverly acquired him. It’s entirely possible that he becomes the next new 35-game winner on a strong team like this one.
The scoring depth has been bolstered. Kadri, Burakovsky and Donskoi are huge upgrades to Brassard, Soderberg and Kerfoot when it comes to putting the puck in the net – and certainly when talking about potential and offensive upside. Assuming a combination of Makar, Samuel Girard and Rosen can replace the offense that Barrie brings, this team should score more goals. Of course, the latter statement is dependent heavily upon their signing top RFA Mikko Rantanen. But that’s a story for another article.
Ready for full-time – Cale Makar is arguably the top NHL prospect defenseman in the world and he showed this quickly last spring – in the playoffs no less – when he posted six points in 10 games. With Barrie gone, Makar will experience trial by fire. He’ll compete for this year’s Calder Trophy.
Calle Rosen is a 25-year-old undrafted defenseman who was signed by the Leafs in 2017 and came over in the Barrie trade. In his second AHL season he tallied 46 points in 54 games and clearly has nothing more to prove at that level. But at 25, this could be his only fair shot at an NHL job, so he’ll come hungry. At this point I have him penciled in on the third pairing with secondary PP time. (Read more on Rosen here)
AJ Greer has marinated long enough. The agitating potential third-liner has played three seasons in the AHL, compiling 95 points and 175 PIM in 152 games. This year he must clear waivers in order to be sent down so you can pencil him in as the 13th or 14th forward.
Conor Timmins missed the entire 2019-20 season due to concussion symptoms. Prior to that, it was expected that he was close to NHL-readiness. At the time, he was a top two or three prospect in Colorado’s system. After missing a year, it is likely he starts off in the AHL. But his talent could get him up to the Show awfully quick.
Vladislav Kamenev has been penciled into the lineup the last two seasons. Both times, injuries took him out of contention. Both times, after returning, he got hurt again. Needless to say, his fragility is making him non-fantasy relevant.
Bowen Byram was Colorado’s 2019 draft pick (from Ottawa – fourth overall). But there’s no way the team will rush him when they’re already bringing on Makar. Another year of development will be good for him (as it was for Makar). That’s their M.O. On a lot of teams he would probably make it right away.
Colorado Avalanche prospect depth chart and fantasy upsides can be found here (not yet ready for mobile viewing, desktop only right now)
Fantasy Outlook – Again assuming that Makar, Rosen and Girard can make up for the loss of Barrie, the Avs have upgraded an already strong offense. The top line of Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen and Gabe Landeskog are as good a line as any (some would say – the best) – and none of them are older than 26. The goaltending is potentially good, but somewhat questionable and unproven with Pavel Francouz backing up Grubauer. On defense the Avs can move the puck, and Erik Johnson and Nikita Zadorov are rocks defensively. The prospect system, from a fantasy standpoint, is extremely weak. Beyond Byram and Timmins, there are no notable potential stars on the way. Martin Kaut is solid, but unspectacular. But the young core on the main roster, along with Byram, is enough to make this a solid team to build your fantasy squad around.
Fantasy Grade: B+ (last year was B-)
Pick up the 14th annual DobberHockey Fantasy Hockey Guide
2019 Offseason Fantasy Hockey Grades
- Ramblings: Tavares Out Two Weeks; Firsts For J. Hughes, Subban, Kessel (Oct 18)
- Top 200 Fantasy Prospect Forwards - October 2019
- Ramblings: Hischier Gets His Deal, Neal’s Market Value, Slumping Stars (Oct 19)
- Top 50 Fantasy Prospect Defensemen - October 2019
- Looking Ahead: Marleau Could Pay Dividends
- Capped: Early returns on a cost-per-point basis
- The Journey: Fastest Rising/Falling Prospects
- Frozen Tools Forensics – Early Season Power-Play Concerns