Backhand Shelf’s previews for the 2013-14 NHL season are going to work like a choose your own adventure novel, because fans only hear what they want to hear anyway, so we might as well embrace it.
You’ll get the flippant barstool prediction, the push-the-glasses-up-your-nose numbers take, the team is going to be good take, the team is going to be bad take, and then we’ll try to bring it back full circle at the bottom. Let’s get to it.
Added: Patrick Roy, Nathan MacKinnon, Alex Tanguay, Cory Sarich
Subtracted: Joe Sacco, Milan Hejduk, David Jones, Chuck Kobasew, Greg Zanon
The Avs are going to be good
It took awhile, but the Avs have finally restocked the cupboard with top shelf talent. Gabriel Landeskog is a special hockey player. At only 20 years old he’s been named the captain of the club, as a guy who never stops working, can contribute offensively, and really, do anything you ask of him rightfully should be. He’s reliable. They’ve still got one of the league’s best young forwards in Ryan O’Reilly (speaking of all-around), and they’re still paying him nickels. They just grabbed the number one pick in the last draft, which means an instant injection of offense thanks to Nathan MacKinnon’s game. And frankly, the best player of the whole bunch might be Matt Duchene, who just signed a contract extension through 2019. Paul Stastny has some of the best vision in the league, and complimentary scorer P.A. Parenteau has more than proven his ability to produce at the NHL level without John Tavares (43 points in 48 games last season).
They’ve added life in the form of Patrick Roy and Joe Sakic, they’ve brought in Francois Allaire to help JS Giguere and Semyon Varlamov be all they can be, and those two get to play behind one of the more underrated d-corps in Erik Johnson (at $3.75 he’s a steal) and reliable guys like Cory Sarich and Jan Hejda. It’s really up to that back-end – if they can meet expectations, this dynamic team has a legit shot at being a playoff squad.
The Avs are going to be bad