The Colorado Avalanche have re-tooled and added a few new faces to the fold for the upcoming 2021-22 NHL season, and they'll be hoping for a longer playoff run next spring after losing in Round 2 to the Vegas Golden Knights in a series they once enjoyed a 2-0 advantage.
There's a new figure between the pipes in the form of goaltender Darcy Kuemper, who was acquired in a trade with the Arizona Coyotes on July 28 for defenseman Conor Timmins, a first-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft and a conditional third-round pick in the 2024 NHL Draft after 2021 Vezina Trophy finalist Philipp Grubauer raised a few eyebrows by signing a six-year contract with the expansion Seattle Kraken the same day.
Meanwhile, 34 year old defensive forward Darren Helm arrives after having spent his entire career with the Detroit Red Wings, and will be looking to offset some of the loss of forward Brandon Saad, who signed a five-year pact with the St. Louis Blues. Defenseman Ryan Murray is also headed to the Rocky Mountains after spending last season with New Jersey.
But perhaps the biggest offseason transaction wasn't a key addition or subtraction, but a contract extension for one of the faces of the franchise. After it appeared as though captain Gabe Landeskog was ready to move on from the only NHL team he's ever known, the two sides were eventually able to work out a massive eight-year contract extension.
And as Landeskog put it, he's got unfinished business.
"I heard the term 'unfinished business.' You know, we haven't accomplished much. The ultimate goal is to win the Stanley Cup. That is what I said Day One and the day I got drafted (in 2011). I grew up with posters of the Avs' Cup-winning team in '96 and '01 in my room, and that was my goal and my dream, to be in a picture wearing an Avs jersey and holding the Stanley Cup. And that is something that will always be the goal. Until you win the final game of the season, we're going to continue to work toward that."
How will the Avs fare in 2021-22?