Through the madness that has been the 2019 NHL offseason, most have marked the Devils or Rangers as having the best Summers. While that isn't completely inaccurate, there is one team that has quietly owned the offseason.
The Colorado Avalanche shocked the hockey world after they took down the Calgary Flames in the first round of last year's postseason. After a disappointing second-round exit at the hand of the Sharks, the Avs clearly set a goal to improve in the offseason. Through a number of pivotal moves, Colorado has done just that and sneakily made themselves a serious dark horse contender to lift the Stanley Cup next year.
Nazem Kadri: "The Colorado Avalanche are going to be contenders for many years to come." #Avs— Ryan S. Clark (@ryan_s_clark) July 2, 2019
However, it's actually the smaller, less talked-about moves they've made that make them such a threat. Along with the extensions of multiple key players like Sam Girard, AJ Greer and JT Compher, the Avs added a number of solid players to give the team a dangerous amount of depth in their lineup.
The Avs biggest splashes include the acquisitions of Joonas Donskoi from San Jose and Andre Burakovsky from Washington, not to mention Kadri. Both can easily rack up 30-40 points on the second or third line, especially when playing alongside other stars.
What's so impressive about the Avs' offseason is that they already had an impressive lineup coming out of last season. They have one of the best offensive lines in hockey with Mackinnon, Landeskog and Rantanen along with incredible young defenders like Cale Makar and Bowen Byram.
It would come as no surprise if the Avs dance around the top of the Central Division next season. It's also safe to assume that Mackinnon could have another MVP-candidate year after putting up 99 points in 2018-19.
The only reason the Avs are considered a "dark horse" is because, for whatever reason, people continue to overlook them each season.
The offseason moves Sakic has made coupled with the stacked lineup they already possessed, all led by a great coach in Jared Bednar, make the Avalanche a slept-on contender to lift the cup in 2019-20.