A season of improvement — with or without playoffs — will help youthful Avalanche

If the season ended today, the Colorado Avalanche of 2017-2018 would be defined by their improvement. No longer the laughingstock of the league, they have improved their place in the standings by over 40 points. Nathan MacKinnon emerged as an elite star, and the promising supporting cast of rookies and youthful Scandinavians have the Avs set up for future.

With this team, a 20-point improvement in the standings (10 more wins) would have seemed like a positive step in the right direction. The accumulation of young talent and prospects (helped by the Matt Duchene trade at the start of the season), is fun to watch develop.

This team would not stand pat with just being exciting. Propelled by shooting star MacKinnon, the Avs worked their way into playoff contention. The defense started playing far better than anyone expected. The veterans provided leadership on and off the ice. Semyon Varlamov and Jonathan Bernier stole some games in net. And the playoffs didn’t seem like a thing that can only happens in other basketball/hockey arenas.

About a month ago, they finally hooked me to the possibility that they might be a playoff team. I started dreaming of the 300 MPH anxiety that accompanies playoff hockey (scientists have yet to find a measurement for the stress of playoff overtime hockey).

After three losses in four games, the walls are closing in on the Colorado Avalanche’s playoff chances. With five games remaining, it might take four wins to enter the playoffs this year.

Continue reading: https://milehighsports.com/a-season-of-improvement-with-or-without-playoffs-will-help-youthful-avalanche/

Originally posted on Mile High Sports

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