The Colorado Avalanche missed the playoffs for the second season in a row in Patrick Roy’s third season behind the bench. Just like last year, it was their slow start that hurt them down the stretch as they missed the final wild card spot by a mere few points. There are obvious weaknesses in their NHL lineup but they have several prospects who could play integral roles in the 2016-17 season.
The Colorado Avalanche’s top five prospects are as good as any other team’s in the league but after fifth-ranked Nicolas Meloche the level of talent begins to wane and big question marks appear. The front office targeted defense as a weakness a few years ago, putting emphasis on improving that area at the expense of the forward group. The lack of success in the mid- to late-rounds has not helped the team’s situation.
For the first time in team history, the Avalanche left an entry draft without selecting any players from the WHL or OHL. Head coach Patrick Roy’s emphasis on targeting players from Europe and Quebec is a complete reversal from the previous regime’s preference and is just one of many philosophical differences in how he wants to run the organization with General Manager Joe Sakic.
Defense wins championships and that is what Patrick Roy returned to Denver to accomplish. Despite his team taking a step back in his sophomore season behind an NHL bench, Roy is confident the lessons learned will only help the team going forward. In addition to his role as head coach, Roy holds a second title as Vice President of Hockey Operations, giving him a voice in all player personnel decisions. The new philosophy as to how the team will be constructed both now and in the future is trending towards an emphasis on size, character, and skills. Roy has also shown he is open to drafting and signing free agents from Europe’s top leagues, something that occurred less frequently in the years prior to his return.