2016 Outlook: Varlamov was superb in 2013-14 and still pretty good last season despite his club's overall struggles. Offseason additions in size and grit department, particularly with a greater focus on puck possession in mind, should help the Avs' No. 1 enjoy numbers more reminiscent of 2013-14 (chiefly in applying to W's).
2016 Outlook: After a surprisingly strong showing the previous season under then-new head coach Patrick Roy, the Avalanche fell short of expectations in 2014-15. While several factors played into the regression, the effectiveness of the power play -- 15 percent, down from 19.5 percent in 2013-14 -- sticks out. Yet Landeskog's personal numbers weren't awful, 59 points as compared to 65 a year earlier. Look for the Colorado captain to rebound to the mid- to high-60s, adjacent center Matt Duchene and a fully-fit Nathan MacKinnon.
2016 Outlook: A prime bounce-back candidate, MacKinnon is poised to equal, if not better, the 24 goals and 39 helpers earned in his outstanding rookie season. According to ESPN Insider's Matt Coller, "The 2013-14 Calder Trophy winner had a disappointing follow up showing last season, scoring only 14 goals in 64 games for a team that regressed heavily from winning the Pacific Division two seasons ago. One of the biggest factors in their fall was their 29th-ranked power play, which only scored on 15 percent of opportunities. MacKinnon's goal-scoring numbers were squashed by their man-advantage struggles. He scored eight power play goals during his rookie season and is very likely to get back to that mark or more this season."
2016 Outlook: Like his top-line wingers, Landeskog and MacKinnon, Duchene is due for a rebound campaign after last season's disappointing output. The speedy 24-year-old is better than his collection of 55 points in 2014-15 suggests. You'd be fortunate to have him as your own No. 2 fantasy center.
2016 Outlook: Who you calling old? Iginla put the Colorado kids to shame last year by scoring a club-leading 29 goals (30 assists), despite fighting through yet another slow start (it's like he develops amnesia every summer and forgets how good he is, come fall). With two years left on his contract, the 38-year-old is embarking on -- recent history implies -- another full campaign alongside long-time linemate (on and off) Alex Tanguay. Iggy's missed only eight regular-season games since 2006-07. Maybe he hits the 30-goal mark this time around. We wouldn't rule it out.
2016 Outlook: There's no longer any question as to who's the top offensive-defenseman in Colorado. Not after last season. Collecting 12 goals , 41 assists, and 16 power play points -- despite the squad's anemic rate of success with the man-advantage -- Barrie solidified himself as the team's go-to guy in key scoring situations. And we don't expect either Nikita Zadorov or Francois Beauchemin -- new prospective defensive partners -- to cramp the 24-year-old's style. While Barrie doesn't yet belong in the elite category of fantasy D-men, he's not that far off.
2016 Outlook: If Mikhail Grigorenko doesn't steal the job, Soderberg is a shoo-in for the second-line center's gig with his new club. And if so, the big Swede should easily eclipse his current NHL-best total of 48 points (Bruins, 2013-14). If not, a third-line role, plus a regular gig with the man-advantage, is in line for the former Boston skater instead. So while a spot alongside Jarome Iginla offers greater upside than say, Blake Comeau, we intend to keep a close eye on how the Grigorenko/Soderberg battle plays out in training camp. You might care to do the same.
2016 Outlook: Free of that bothersome spleen, and out of competitive action since mid-January, Boedker is itching to go. Back up to his playing weight, the sturdy 25-year-old winger should quickly shake off whatever cobwebs, once camp gets underway. On the top line with veterans Martin Hanzal and Shane Doan, Boedker has yet to amass 60 points in the NHL. That dull streak could end at any point. Like, say, in a contract year. Which it is.
2016 Outlook: In June, GM Joe Sakic proclaimed Johnson "100 percent" healthy to the Denver Post. Good news after the defenseman lost nearly half of last season to a knee injury. With a full summer to train and build up strength, the seven-year veteran -- who's just entering his prime as a blueliner -- shouldn't miss a beat, once camp opens. Just below Tyson Barrie on the Colorado's fantasy depth chart, Johnson has 40-point potential.
2016 Outlook: We're not sure what to make of Zadorov's fantasy prospects in his new digs. Going over what we do know: He's excited to be in Colorado, he's pegged to pair top offensive-defenseman Tyson Barrie, and he's really big. Six-foot-five, 230 lbs worth of big. But he's also only 20 years old with one full-ish NHL season under his belt. Performing as an everyday top-four D-man may be a lot to ask at this stage. We'll see. (Personal note: I watched this kid a lot, live, with the London Knights. His physical presence is formidable, but I still think he needs seasoning. - Victoria)
2016 Outlook: Acquired in an offseason trade with the Sabres, Grigorenko is clearly pumped about being reunited with former Remparts (QMJHL) head coach Patrick Roy. "I can't wait for the opportunity to have him as a coach again. I had my best years in Quebec, and it was great having Patrick as a coach. He was great to me and taught me a lot of things on and off the ice. I can't thank him enough for what he's done for me already, and I can't wait to have him as a coach again," he told the Denver post. Considered a bust in Buffalo, the former first-round draft pick should altogether benefit from this fresh start. Especially if he gets the opportunity to center a second line with two experienced wingers, Jarome Iginla and Alex Tanguay. Which apparently isn't out of the question. As it stands, the 21-year-old absolutely reeks of dark-horse potential.
2016 Outlook: Just when we're about to send the 35-year-old out to fantasy pasture, he re-commands our attention by joining a new club. Signed to a three-year deal with the Avalanche, Beauchemin is likely to partner Erik Johnson on the top defensive pairing and, maybe, see minutes with the No. 1 power play unit. A perennial scoring threat with that vicious shot of his, the veteran defenseman managed 11 goals and 12 assists with the Ducks in a 64-game 2014-15 season limited by a broken finger and bout with the mumps. He could serve as a late-round steal in many drafts.