The Colorado Avalanche should once again be one of the top teams in the league. They will be without their captain but took the steps to fill that void. In doing so, it should add value to some players that recently had very little. Not only are they one of the best teams in the league, but they can also score a ton of goals. This team was carried by their top six, but I think that is going to start to change.
The Avalanche are deeper and can not only score but have added some physical players. Both of these elements will make them a team to target. Team success means that many of the players on the team are also going to have success themselves. Here’s a look at a breakdown of who will have an impact in fantasy hockey from the Avalanche.
Colorado Avalanche Fantasy Hockey Preview
Top Tier Options
The Avalanche might have the most players that could be on teams in fantasy hockey at most points throughout the season. The core is elite as Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen will be drafted very high. Right behind them is Valeri Nichushkin and Artturi Lehkonen who benefit from five-on-five play with the top players and power-play time. After that, there are up to five more players that you should consider later in drafts.
The Avalanche’s power play is one of the best in the league, so whoever gets on the top unit instantly gets a big boost offensively. While the second unit will look fairly different this season, the top unit remains the same. When healthy, MacKinnon and Rantanen lead the way with Nichushkin and Lehkonen serving as the other two forwards. There is no doubt that the two elite forwards will get a ton of points and be very good fantasy players. But the latter could see great and underrated production.
Health is a big thing for the Avalanche. Not only did Lehkonen miss 18 games and Nichushkin miss 29 last season, but they could suffer if another top player is out. These four are must-owns in fantasy as you can never count on players getting injured. Draft for the best-case scenario and with these Avalanche players, it could pay off immensely.
As for the remaining five that could have fantasy value, points-wise, my top picks would be newly signed Tomas Tatar and second-line center Ryan Johansen. Tatar will be in a better place potentially playing in the top-six. He produced 20 goals and 48 points last season while competing for ice time with a lot of talent in New Jersey. The other, Johansen, has put up big numbers in the past. If he remains healthy, he’ll have better linemates and be on a team that has better all-around offensive production to feed off of. Whoever has been in the second-line center role in Colorado has put up a good amount of points.
The third line is going to be interesting. Miles Wood is going to have a bigger role with the Avalanche and he has always been able to score and play very physically. Ross Colton is the same way. He can produce a fair amount of offense and also add to those physical categories in many leagues. Jonathan Drouin is a unique one. Some think he will get a shot alongside MacKinnon and Rantanen on the top line. If so, he is a very sneaky fantasy option as the former Montreal Canadiens player will also play on the second power-play unit.
While the forwards have some very good forward options, there’s no shortage on defense too. Cale Makar should be at the very top of all defensemen drafted in each league as he is a point-per-game defenseman. If he could stay healthy for an entire season, he would contend to be the next defender to hit 100 points. Makar is the sole defenseman on the top power-play unit and is elite at creating space and producing offensively.
While he isn’t a top-10 option, Devon Toews is still a strong fantasy option. He benefits offensively from playing alongside Makar. Toews has consecutive 50-point seasons in Colorado and is in a contract year. There’s nothing stopping him from playing great for another season on the Avalanche and filling all categories in fantasy hockey.
The second pairing of the Avalanche is expected to be Bowen Byram and Sam Girard. Both can produce offensively and will be a dangerous line to deal with. Byram is on the rise and should be able to get into the majority of the games this season. He has played at a 46 point pace the past two seasons, and that was when he was stuck on the third pairing half of the time. Expect big things from him and definitely take the chance at drafting him because of his upside. As for Girard, he can easily nab you 30-plus points but doesn’t hit all of the other categories as much. He’s still a strong offensive player who can move the puck and is fast.
There is really only one top-tier option for fantasy in net when it comes to the Avalanche. This would be Alexandar Georgiev. He stepped into the spotlight as the starter in Colorado last season and performed great. He will play 60 or more games this season and win a lot of them. Georgiev won 40 games last season, tied for the NHL lead. He posted a very good .919 SV%, 2.53 GAA, and five shutouts. There’s not many better options this season. In deep leagues, I would consider Pavel Francouz as a third option on your team if you need the occasional strong start.
There’s no doubt that you need to grab some Avalanche players this season in fantasy hockey as they are primed for success. This team will score a ton of goals and many will benefit from the goals scored and wins. Next up in the 2023 Fantasy Hockey Team Preview is the Dallas Stars.
Make sure to check out all of our Fantasy Hockey Team Previews as they roll out over the coming weeks!