Heading into the season, hockey fans and writers alike tend to do a blanket analysis on the strengths and weaknesses of each team around the league. Breaking down who should be good, who should be terrible, what will surprise and what will be the Achilles' heel - it's all as much a part of the October tradition as fall leaves and ubiquitous pumpkin flavorings.
After a standout year from the Avs' top line and a solid collection of roster additions made over the summer, the team's primary scoring, defense, and goaltending appear set. Goalies Semyon Varlamov and Philipp Grubauer are projected to be co-starters, and Pavel Francouz is a high-skill third option. The defense is talented and balanced, boasting a solid mix of young players and in-their-prime vets. And the top line remains one of the best in the world mere months after Nathan MacKinnon finished second in the league's MVP voting.
However, what happens beyond that top line remains the biggest question mark for the Avs. Hockey is a team sport; even the best line can't carry a roster to the post-season alone. Secondary scoring is critical, especially on the rare night when the big guns get shut down. And for the Avs, it's still a bit of an unknown.
Almost every analysis written about the Avs points to this secondary scoring as the biggest weakness on the team. Between the overall youth, the recent adds, and the terrible 48-point season disrupting the career averages of most of the vets, it's hard to get a read on this group of players.
As the Avs look to make consecutive playoffs for the first time since 2006, everyone knows they need secondary scoring. But how much? And from whom?