The Colorado Avalanche and New York Rangers meet on Thursday night for the second day of NHL action. This is the first night with a full slate of action on the ice. The NHL season started with a blowout in Winnipeg. The Maple Leafs dismantled the Jets for a convincing win of 7-2. Winnipeg was expected to have a myriad of issues on defense heading into the season, and last night did nothing to suggest otherwise. The goaltending was awful between Steve Mason and Hellebuyck. Mason gave up 5 goals on just 15 shots before he was yanked. The Jets will have to figure their defence out, while I believe, a team we’re featuring tonight will have to figure everything out.
The Avalanche had the ugliest offseason in the NHL, highlighted by a public battle between management and Matt Duchene. Duchene doesn’t want to be in Denver anymore. He’s been waiting for a trade all offseason which never came. Now that the regular season is upon us, he’s still waiting for the phone call from his agent that he’s been traded. There’s been several rumours, including the Senators and Blue Jackets in the mix, but nothing has materialized. So, Duchene is still with the Avs with his future still in limbo.
Joe Sakic has made it pretty clear, the Avs aren’t going to give Duchene away for a bag of pucks and some sticks. With that said, it looks like they’re going to hold out until they get the right deal for him. Duchene had a down year in 2016-17, there is no escaping that, but I think his talent can still help some teams out. He could put a team who is missing a piece of the puzzle over the top.
Nevertheless, teams aren’t going to ship out prized prospects for a player coming off a slow season. On the right team, though, I believe Duchene could be of great assistance. The question everybody is asking is how he will gel with the rest of the team. Without question, there’s been distractions in the offseason, and this is a team coming off a league worst 22-56-4 record. The Avalanche will get their season started tonight in NYC. Head below for our free Avalanche vs. Rangers pick.
Colorado Avalanche vs. N.Y. Rangers Pick
If Henrik Lundqvist wants a Stanley Cup, he better play better in 2017-18. Lundqvist, who has done so much for the Rangers in his career, had one of the worst years of his career last season. He’s carried the team countless times, but it wasn’t the case then. Lundqvist finished with a GAA of 2.74, which is in fact the worst of his twelve-year career. His next worst came the previous year, a 2.48 GAA in 2015-16. It would indicate he’s regressing as he gets older, but we’ll see if he can bounce back. If you recall, the Rangers parted ways with the younger Cam Talbot, who they probably wise they still had. Talbot is playing well as a member of the Oilers these days.
It isn’t like there isn’t any talent on the Avalanche. They have a team consisting of Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog, and Matt Duchene, all high draft picks. The Avs gave defenceman Tyson Barrie a nice paycheck a couple of years ago, but in the process had to say goodbye to Ryan O’Reilly due to cap restraints. They’ve just had issues with chemistry and gelling together as a team. I don’t feel like the offseason did them any favours. I like the Rangers to get off to an easy start and take down the Avalanche by two or three goals. I think at that price on the puck-line, it’s worth a look.
PICK: RANGERS -1.5 (+145)