Blogger's Breakouts - Colorado Avalanche

Avalanche_medium Welcome Geoff from The Avslova Factor for his second year in a row as our Colorado Avalanche blogging expert.  Last year Geoff picked Wojtek Wolski, and David Jones as his two breakouts.  Big check on Wolski and a half check on Jones as he was looking good for the breakout call until he got injured.  We'll see if Geoff can get lightning in a bottle again with his picks below.

We asked Geoff nine fantasy related questions about the Flyers and the NHL in general.  Follow the jump to read his answers...

To see the rest of our Blogger's Breakouts click here for the main page.

By Geoff from The Avslova Factor
Q1) Avalanche Breakout of the Year?

It's tough because of all the potential sophomore slumps, but Ryan O`Reilly is poised to do some major damage. Last year, O'Reilly got off to a hot start and really trailed off late, but he was also dragged through the mud by his linemates. (I'm looking at you, Darcy Tucker.) This year, he will center what will be Colorado's most potent third line in recent memory. O'Reilly will also have the benefit of playing with Brandon Yip and hopefully David Jones. All of them have talent and all of them can score. Look for him on the penalty kill as he did score two shorthanded goals last.
Q2) Darkhorse Breakout on the Avalanche?
Part of the Avalanche's sensational rookie class, T.J. Galiardi finished 6th in rookie scoring last year with 15 goals and 29 assists. He's going to be playing left wing on the Paul Stastny-Chris Stewart line which means he'll be getting A LOT of opportunity to improve those numbers. Another candidate is the aforementioned Brandon Yip. After playing four years and winning a championship at Boston University, the 25-year-old Yip burst onto the scene at the end of last season, scoring 11 goals (two game winners) and adding 8 assists in just 31 games. Yip plays with an edge that will serve him well on the third line.
Q3) Breakdown Player on the Avalanche?
Honestly, every single Av has the potential to see a decrease in their point totals. Can Paul Stastny stay healthy and maintain his point-per-game average? Will Chris Stewart be able to match his 28-goal total? Can Matt Duchene, O'Reilly, Galiardi, Yip, and David Jones all avoid the sophomore slump? However, it is Milan Hejduk who may see a slight dip in his 23-goal, 44-point season. Hejduk is getting older (this may be his last season) and his knee problems aren't going away any time soon.
Q4) League-Wide Breakout of the Year?
I think we're going to see a big rebound from St. Louis this year led by T.J. Oshie. Last season was a disappointment but from what I've watched, he's going to be a big time player eventually. Why not now?
Q5) Who are your First Five Picks in a Fantasy Draft? 
Ovechkin, Crosby, Stamkos, Backstrom and, Miller.  Substitute Malkin for either Stamkos and Backstrom depending on who you root for. 
Q6) Best Value for Money Fantasy Goalie?
Marty TurcoHe has a top defensive unit in front of him and despite the losses, the Blackhawks are going to be a playoff team. If he stays healthy, Turco is a good, safe option in the later rounds.
Q7) Taylor or Tyler?

Taylor in the short-term, Tyler in the long-term. It does matter, though? Magnus Paajarvi owns them both. 
Q8) Your Stanley Cup Pick?

In the East, it'll come down to Washington, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, and Boston. The West will see San Jose, Los Angeles, Chicago and probably Vancouver battle it out. Throw away San Jose, because we all know that Joe Thornton's vacation is planned from April to May, and take out Buffalo and Boston because we all "know" that Gary Bettman wants a Washington-Pittsburgh Winter Class rematch. Chicago is automatically out due to the slim odds of repeating, and Vancouver is out because they're Vancouver.

Based on the trends (Winter Classic participant advancing to and ultimately losing the Cup), I'll call a Pittsburgh-Los Angeles finals with Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins (unfortunately) raising the silver chalice for a second time.

BONUS) The Avs finished with the 6th most goals in the NHL last year but had the 29th most shots for.  What's the deal are they lucky or good?

They're both. When the Avs got off to the fast start last season, everyone kept waiting for the wheels to fall off. They didn't. Yes, Colorado slipped a bit after the Olympics, but for the most part, this team surprised practically everyone in the hockey world. Up front, they now have three full lines of players who are capable of putting the puck in the net, most notably Chris Stewart. Was it luck? We'll see, but even this season won't tell us. This group is going to grow together and if all goes according to plan, start becoming legitimate contenders for the Stanley Cup in 2011.

Last year might have been lucky - a bunch of young kids coming together to make the playoffs in the West - but they're a damn good hockey team, and this season will be about proving that last year's playoff berth was no fluke.

Thanks to Geoff.  Great stuff.  Loving the conspiracy theories to determine his cup winner.   If you enjoyed this BB make sure you give The Avslova Factor a visit and a bookmark.

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