National Hockey League

Central Division Preview: Colorado Avalanche

nhl2COLORADO AVALANCHE: TEAM LOOK-AHEAD
The Avalanche will look to clinch three consecutive berths in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since an 11-season run from 1994-95 to 2005-06. Additionally, Colorado has reached 90 standings points in each of the past two seasons – the last time they reached the 90-point mark in three or more consecutive seasons was a 12-season stretch from 1995-96 to 2007-08.

SEASON-OPENING STATS
* Mikko Rantanen (4-12—16) and Nathan MacKinnon (8-7—15) each opened the 2018-19 season with a nine-game point streak en route to career years offensively. Only five skaters in franchise history had longer season-opening point streaks (all w/ QUE): Mats Sundin (30 GP in 1992-93), Peter Stastny (16 GP in 1987-88), Michel Goulet (14 GP in 1985-86), Joe Sakic (12 GP in 1988-89) and Wendel Clark (10 GP in 1994-95).

OFFENSIVE OUTLOOK
* Nathan MacKinnon recorded a career-high 99 points in 2018-19 (41-58—99 in 82 GP) after also topping the 90-point mark in 2017-18 (39-58—97 in 74 GP). Since the team started play in Colorado in 1995-96, only two players have recorded three or more 90-point seasons with the club: Joe Sakic (4) and Peter Forsberg (4).

* Additionally, MacKinnon can become the first Avalanche/Nordiques player with consecutive 40-goal seasons since Michel Goulet had seven in a row from 1981-82 to 1987-88.

* MacKinnon (41), Gabriel Landeskog (34) and Mikko Rantanen (31) all reached the 30-goal mark in 2018-19, the first time the franchise saw three 30-goal scorers in the same season since four did so in 1995-96. The last time the franchise had three or more 30-goal scorers in consecutive seasons was 1984-85 and 1985-86 when the club was based in Quebec.

THE FUTURE IS NOW
* The Avalanche have selected a defenseman within the top five picks of the NHL Draft in two of the last three years: Cale Makar (No. 4 in 2017) and Bowen Byram (No. 4 in 2019). The franchise record for most points by a rookie defenseman is 37 (Bruce Bell: 6-31—37 in 1984-85 w/ QUE). The franchise mark for most goals by a rookie blueliner is 10, set in 2003-04 by John-Michael Liles, who also owns the highest point total by a rookie defenseman since the team’s move to Colorado (10-24—37).

* On April 15, Makar became the first defenseman – and seventh player of any position – to score a goal while making his League debut in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

BETWEEN THE PIPES
* Philipp Grubauer owns a career save percentage of .921, tied for the highest among active goaltenders with at least 100 appearances. Grubauer, who had a career-high 18 wins in 2018-19 and looks to receive more playing time in 2019-20, can become the second German-born goaltender to win 20 games in a season (Thomas Greiss: 3x, most recently 2018-19).

FIRST IMPRESSIONS
A look at how players have fared historically in their debut game/season with the franchise:

First game with Avalanche/Nordiques. . .
SKATERS
Most goals: 3 – Real Cloutier (Oct. 10, 1979) and Joe Colborne (Oct. 15, 2016)
Most assists: 3 – three times; last: Francois Beauchemin (Oct. 8, 2015)
Most points: 3 – six times; last: Joe Colborne (Oct. 15, 2016)
 
DEFENSEMEN
Most goals: 1 – eight times; last: Stefan Elliott (Nov. 26, 2011)
Most assists: 3 – Kerry Huffman (Oct. 8, 1992) and Francois Beauchemin (Oct. 8, 2015)
Most points: 3 – Kerry Huffman (Oct. 8, 1992) and Francois Beauchemin (Oct. 8, 2015)
 
GOALTENDERS
Most saves: 38 – Craig Anderson (Oct. 1, 2009)
Shutout: Mario Gosselin (Feb. 26, 1984)

First season with Avalanche/Nordiques. . .
SKATERS
Most goals: 42 – Real Cloutier (1979-80)
Most assists: 70 – Peter Stastny (1980—81)
Most points: 109 – Peter Stastny (1980-81)
 
DEFENSEMEN
Most goals: 20 – Steve Duchesne (1992-93)
Most assists: 62 – Steve Duchesne (1992-93)
Most points: 82 – Steve Duchesne (1992-93)
 
GOALTENDERS
Most wins: 38 – Craig Anderson (2009-10)
Most Shutouts: 7 – Craig Anderson (2009-10)

— NHL Public Relations

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