The Colorado Avalanche enter the 2023/24 season looking to win their second Stanley Cup in the past three seasons.
The Avalanche have been considered to have one of the most talented rosters in the NHL for as long as they’ve had Nathan MacKinnon, so it’s no surprise to see them enter the season at +850 to hoist the Stanley Cup.
|What||2023/24 NHL Season|
|Where||US & Canada|
|When||October 10, 2023 - June 2024|
|How to watch||ABC, ESPN, TNT & NHL Center Ice|
|Odds||TOR Maple Leafs +800, COL Avalanche +850, EDM Oilers +900, NJ Devils +1000, CAR Hurricanes +1000|
Following their Stanley Cup win in the 2021/22 season, expectations were a mile high for the Avs, but they got off to a rather slow start to the season.
They were still in the mix in terms of the top four teams in the Central Division, but they weren’t nearly as dominant as two seasons ago.
However, a surge late in the season saw them sneak into the Central Division's top spot by just a point above the Dallas Stars to snatch away the division title.
Unfortunately for Avs fans, that was short-lived, as they were upset by the Seattle Kraken, a second-year franchise, in the first round.
We mentioned that the Avs have a star-studded roster, and that all starts with MacKinnon. Surprisingly enough, he just recorded his first 100-point season this past year, but that has been due to injuries shortening his prior campaigns.
That symbol of consistent health is a boost in itself, as is the health of Mikko Rantanen. The two are both volume shooters while also being largely accurate, which is why Rantanen also eclipsed 100 points in 2022/23.
Along with those two superstars is 24-year-old Cale Makar, who won the Norris Trophy for the NHL’s best defenseman two seasons ago during Colorado’s Stanley Cup run.
During that season, he set an Avs record for points by a D-man with 86, which speaks volumes for such a storied franchise. With that trio intact, the team also still has Valeri Nichushkin and Artturi Lehkonen to provide a fantastic second line.
Similarly, Colorado also added Tomas Tatar from the New Jersey Devils, who just made it to the second round of the playoffs last season.
Of course, all this still doesn’t address the elephant in the room - the status of captain Gabriel Landeskog and his injured knee.
It’s likely we’ll see MacKinnon named as the interim captain, as Landeskog’s knee injury that caused him to miss all of last season and play in just 51 games two seasons ago looks to be significant enough to put his future in jeopardy.
Although he’s technically listed as out until April 1 to keep the postseason on the table. Head coach Jared Bednar has already stated he’ll be out for the entire regular season.
His presence was sorely missed in the Avs failing to reach the Stanley Cup Final for back-to-back seasons, as Landeskog had 11 postseason goals and 22 postseason points when they won it all two seasons ago.
The Avs will likely manage to navigate the regular season just fine, but Landeskog’s health will again become a hot topic as the playoffs draw nearer.
The Avs have the second-shortest odds to win the Stanley Cup at +850, and they’re the overall favorite to win the Western Conference at +375.
Similarly, they are the betting favorite to win the Central Division at +140 and you can also target them to win the Presidents’ Trophy for the league’s best regular season record at +650, behind only the Carolina Hurricanes at +600.
Nathan MacKinnon has the second-shortest odds to win the Hart Trophy for the NHL's most valuable player at +1000, behind only Connor McDavid. Cale Makar has the 10th-shortest odds to win it at +2200, and Mikko Rantanen has the 13th-shortest odds for the Hart at +4000.
Makar has the shortest odds to win his second Norris Trophy for the league's best defenseman at +175.
Head coach Jared Bednar has the third-shortest odds to win the Jack Adams Award for the league's best coach at +750.
Rantanen has the fifth-shortest odds to win the Rocket Richard Trophy for the league's top goalscorer at +1400, while MacKinnon has the 10th-shortest odds for the Richard Trophy at +3000.
Colorado opens the season with three straight road games, but their home opener will be one you won’t want to miss, as they’ll be hosting the 18-year-old phenom Connor Bedard and the Chicago Blackhawks.
Their first clash against the defending Stanley Cup-champion Vegas Golden Knights comes shortly after on Nov. 4, and their first showdown with the division rival Minnesota Wild takes place on Nov. 24.
The Avs' final two weeks of the regular season features two matchups against the Wild, two more against the Edmonton Oilers and a game each against the Golden Knights and Dallas Stars, so it will be a grind heading towards the postseason.
As mentioned, Jared Bednar is the Avs head coach, who also led the team to their 2022 Stanley Cup. He’s been the man in charge since 2016, and thus far has a record of 291-192-53 in Colorado.