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Colorado Avalanche 2021 season preview: Why Nathan MacKinnon & Co. are a top Stanley Cup favorite

Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images

Colorado Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic has built his team the right way, and the 2019-20 version looked about as good as anyone in the 2020 postseason.

Unfortunately, the injury bug bit this team hard in the Edmonton bubble, and the players remaining couldn't hang with the Dallas Stars. Looking ahead to 2020-21, this is one of the teams to beat in the West Division. Here's everything you have to know before opening night:


Big question: If healthy, is this the Stanley Cup champion?

When they were eliminated by the Stars in Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinal, the Avalanche were missing captain Gabriel Landeskog, forwards Joonas Donskoi and Matt Calvert, defenseman Erik Johnson and -- most crucially -- their first- and second-string goaltenders Philipp Grubauer and Pavel Francouz, as Michael Hutchinson got the start. At full strength, do the Avalanche win that series and end up facing the Lightning for the Stanley Cup? Perhaps.

At full strength this season, with a team anchored by star players and well-cast role players, can the Avalanche win the Stanley Cup? Absolutely.