Colorado Avalanche has 18.8 percent chance at getting No. 1 draft pick

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1 pick. The Panthers have a 25 percent chance when the draft lottery show commences at 6 p.m. (NBC Sports Network). Had they won Saturday, the Avs would have surpassed the Tampa Bay Lightning in the standings and tied the Nashville Predators, winning a tiebreaker over the Preds. The Avs would thus have officially finished 27th and had only a 10.7 percent shot at the draft’s No. 1 pick — which probably is going to be Colorado-raised defenseman Seth Jones of the Portland Winterhawks. Jones, who was born in Dallas and introduced to hockey in Littleton, where he played until age 13, is considered an NHL-ready franchise defenseman. Regardless of the position needs of any of the NHL’s 14 nonplayoff, draft-lottery teams with a chance to pick No. 1 overall, the 6-foot-4 Jones is likely to go first. The other top-five prospects are forwards, including teammates Jonathan Drouin and Nathan MacKinnon of the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Russian left wing Valeri Nichushkin and Finnish center Aleksander Barkov complete the top-five prospects in what is considered an exceptionally deep draft pool — with about 50 players considered possible first-round selections. source:

Avalanche’s struggles bury Sacco

Colorado’s Milan Hejduk, the last active link to the 2001 Stanley Cup team, may have played his last game Saturday. “We’ll see what’s going to happen in the offseason,” said Hejduk, who is second in franchise history in games (1,020) and fourth in goals (375). “It was a short season, but it was a tough one.”

We appreciate all he has done and wish him the best in the future.” The Avs will soon begin their search for a replacement. They may also be in the market for a veteran forward, too. Milan Hejduk, the last on-ice link to the 2001 Stanley Cup championship team, isn’t sure if he will be back for a 15th season. He took a moment to soak in the scene at Pepsi Center in the season finale on Saturday, winning the final faceoff of the year and taking the puck as a souvenir. This wasn’t how he envisioned going out, should this indeed be his last season. It’s been a trying season in which Hejduk missed time with shoulder and torso injuries. He also finished with a career-low 11 points. “We’ll see what’s going to happen in the offseason,” said the 37-year-old Hejduk, who is second in franchise history in games (1,020) and fourth in goals (375). “It was a short season, but it was a tough one.” And a costly one for Sacco. Sacco spent two seasons in charge of the organization’s American Hockey League affiliate squad, the Lake Erie Monsters, before taking over the Avs in 2009 after the firing of Tony Granato. A former NHL player, Sacco preached a fast-paced style, and it served the youthful Avalanche well in his first season as the team earned a postseason spot. But Colorado couldn’t duplicate that success. source:’s-struggles-bury-Sacco-

Season in review: Streaks, trades, and a new-look NHL

Ottawa rode one of the League’s best defenses, thanks in part to the fill-in goaltending from Robin Lehner , to the playoffs. The Senators had the worst goals-per-game among the 16 playoff teams, but were second in the NHL in goals-against and first in penalty killing. Tavares, the Islanders and the playoffs John Tavares played like a Hart Trophy candidate all season, but his teammates jumped on board in March and helped the No. 1 pick get the New York Islanders into the playoffs for the first time since 2007, a surprise considering they were 8-11-2 and stuck in 12th place when the calendar flipped. Tavares was doing his part with 13 goals and 25 points through February, but in March, Evgeni Nabokov turned into an elite goalie again, Josh Bailey picked up his play, and the Islanders became a more balanced 200-foot team. They went 16-5-4 during their next 25 games to clinch a playoff spot with two games to spare. Turnpike rivals get busted The New Jersey Devils went to the Stanley Cup Final last year, knocking off the Philadelphia Flyers along the way. This year, both teams are watching the playoffs from home. The Flyers struggled from the outset and never found their footing. They were 2-5-0 through January and 10-11-1 through February. source:

Medford’s Joe Sacco sacked by the Colorado Avalanche

In his four years at the helm, Sacco’s NHL coaching record stands at 130-134-30. “The organization believes a change of leadership behind the bench is needed going forward,” said Avalanche General Manager/Executive Vice President Greg Sherman. “Joe has worked for this franchise for eight seasons and he is a dedicated and hard-working coach. We appreciate all he has done and wish him the best in the future.” A former Medford High Mustangs and Boston University hockey star, Sacco was a finalist for the Jack Adams Award in his rookie season behind the Avs bench in 2009-10. He guided Colorado to a 43-30-9 record (95 points) and a second-place finish in the Northwest Division that year. The Avs became the first Western Conference team to make the playoffs after finishing last in the conference the previous year since the league went to 30 teams in 2000-01. The next two season presented new challenges for the coach, as Colorado continued to rebuild its team. The 2013 season marked Sacco’s eighth year with the organization. Colorado never really seemed to find it’s footing during the lockout-shortened 48-game season. The Avs were unable to string together more than two wins in a row, while finishing with a dismal 4-16-4 road record, the worst in the NHL. The abbreviated season started out on an ominous note, as the Avalanche lost high-energy forward Steve Downie to a season-ending knee injury in just their second game. NHL Rookie of the Year and Avalanche team captain Gabriel Landeskog also missed a months worth of action, after suffering a concussion, Jan. source:

Colorado Avalanche fire coach Joe Sacco

That’s a good thing.” Colorado never really found its footing in this fast-paced season. Not once did the team string together more than two wins and finished with a league-worst 4-16-4 record on the road. The Avs also had the Ryan O’Reilly situation hovering over their heads for more than a month as he stayed away to negotiate a new deal. A few hours after O’Reilly signed an offer sheet with Calgary on Feb. 28, Colorado matched the offer of $10 million over two years, which included a $2 million signing bonus. But even the return of the player nicknamed “Factor” to the lineup really couldn’t play a factor in a season that quickly went sideways. “We had some tough sledding. We lost the handle on it,” Duchene said. “It’s disappointing. But come next season all of us have to have great summers and be ready to go. It was tough for us with the lockout. Teams that were ready when play resumed are in the playoffs. source:


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