Next up in my previews of Northwest Division teams is the Colorado Avalanche. Colorado made a big splash in the free agent market signing mulletboy Ryan Smyth to a huge ass contract, but it's my opinion that this really didn't address their needs. Colorado can score in bunches, that's not the problem. The problem is on the back line and sometimes in the goal. On defense it's pretty much John Michael-Liles and little else(*). Goaltender Peter Budaj can be spectacular at times, but often gets barraged by far too many shots for a good goalie to handle. And on top of all that, Joe Sakic's a year older and is bound to wear down at some point also, at least Wild fans can hope.
Overall, I don't think the Avs have improved significantly, so I project them to finish anywhere from 8th to 12th in the conference.
(*) And no, I didn't forget Jordan Leopold.