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Division Changes: The Colorado Avalanche

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Kicking off our series where we are focusing on player changes within the division, we start with the Colorado Avalanche.

NHL: Anaheim Ducks at Colorado Avalanche
2 of these 4 will not be back with the Avalanche next season
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

2015-16 Record: 39-39-4 82 pts

Estimated cap space: 959K

One of the great joys in life is laughing at the Colorado Avalanche. A team that seems to have a lot of great tools at their disposal, and a head coach hell-bent on squandering that talent at every turn. The Avalanche are a team sitting with a more than decent amount of cap space, yet the orginization's door this offseason seems to be much more of an exit than an entrance.

The Avalanche managed to re-sign goalie Calvin Pickard, while trading Reto Berra to the Florida Panthers, and getting a 23 year old 5'6" center in one Rocco Grimaldi in return. Fedor Tyutin will bring his 803 NHL games and 54 goals to the Avalanche. Joe Colborne is a 6'5" giant who spent the last 3 seasons centering lines with the Calgary Flames. Patrick Wiercioch was a 42nd overall selection in the 2008 entry draft, and is liked by fancy stat gurus, but never played more than 56 games for the Senators in a season. The University of Denver alum will be going home, so to speak, although the defensmen originally hails from Burnaby, BC.

The exodus from the Avalanche is a bit extensive. From prospects to players the Avalanche have lost 7 players so far to free agency, and 2 more to trades. Holden and Berra were traded as mentioned, but the free agents departing the Mile High City from the top down have been extensive. While none of their losses look like mission critical players, the changes are aplenty.

Mikkel Boedker might be the most noticeable free agent parting ways with the Avs. The 26 year old former 8th overall selection in the 2008 draft will take his 17 goals and 34 assists last season to the San Jose Sharks. Shawn Matthias was acquired by the Avs last season in a trade with the Maple Leafs. Playing just 20 games for the Avalanche, he notched 6 goals along with 5 assists. At 6'4", his size and time on the PK could be missed, but as with rental players he wasn't really part of the Avalanche's plans going forward.

Ben Street appeared in just 7 games for the Avs last season, but the 29 year old has spent most of his time playing in the AHL. Andrew Bodnarchuk saw 37 NHL games last season, split between the Blue Jackets and Avalanche, but the 28 year old has seen limited action in the big leagues throughout his career.

Guys like Zach Redmond, Taylor Beek, and Borna Rendulic aren't bound to bounce off your NHL radar either. Beek saw 2 games last season with the Islanders, but was traded twice last season. Colorado acquired him for Marc-Andre Cliche, but was immediately assigned to the AHL. Rendulic's biggest contribution to the NHL is being the first Croatian-born and trained player to earn an NHL contract. He played 3 games last season and didn't register a point.

Redmond is probably the most notable player among them, having played in 114 NHL games between the Jets and Avalanche over 4 seasons. Although he finished 3rd in scoring for defenders with the Avs in the 2014-15 season (5g-15a 20 pts - 59 games), he seemed to take a step in the wrong direction last season and finds himself in a new home with the Vancouver Canucks now.

The Avalanche are a team, not unlike the Wild, which struggled with consistency last season. They had a shot at the playoffs late in the season, but they nosedived with the Wild and were unable to secure the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Colorado can be a dangerous team, when they want to be. Both players and coaches alike. They're really a tough team to wrap your head around. On the one hand they have the tools in place to be really good, yet their coaching staff has struggled to get the best out of their lineup.

Their cap space going into this season isn't doing them any favors either. While they've done well to secure some of their core, they have 7 available contracts under the cap of 50 and under a million dollars to fill those spots. Of course, you are not required to have 50 contracts in the organization, but why wouldn't you want options? If we've learned anything about an NHL season, it's that injuries do happen.

EDIT

In a move that could only come on the day I publish an article about the Avalanche, it appears Patrick "Wah not Roy" has up and quit the organization altogether. I guess we won’t get to witness the rematch of Roy against Boudreau and the plexiglas divider this season.