Ultimate Standings: Avalanche drop in all eight categories

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Colorado Avalanche

Overall: 51
Title track: T26
Ownership: 69
Coaching: 22
Players: 70
Fan relations: 70
Affordability: 76
Stadium experience: 72
Bang for the buck: 30
Change from last year: -35

The momentum from the 2013 hiring of Hall of Famer Patrick Roy and subsequent division title and playoff run is gone for the Avalanche. Colorado dropped from No. 16 overall down to 51st -- this after an Ultimate Standings-record 85-place jump from 2013 to 2014. The Avs dropped in all eight categories in a decline that reflected the fall they took in the standings last season.

What's good

The one area of stability for the Avalanche is title track. Colorado was an NHL powerhouse in the late 1990s and early 2000s (the Avs' last Stanley Cup came in 2001). The reminders of Colorado's glory days are tangible these days, with the captain of those teams, Joe Sakic, now the team's general manager and the starting goalie, Patrick Roy, now behind the bench. Roy garnered the Avs' strongest showing with a No. 22 ranking; only five NHL coaches scored higher. Looking to the future, there's a roster full of young stars such as Gabriel Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon and Matt Duchene. Now, the big question is whether the players who led the Avalanche to championships well over a decade ago are capable of doing it in managerial roles. This season will go a long way toward answering that question.

What's bad

The Avalanche surprisingly struggled in affordability, their lowest ranked of all categories -- dropping from No. 60 to No. 76. That's despite an average ticket price of $47.56, well below the NHL average ($62.18) and actually cheaper than in less-established markets such as Columbus and Nashville. But Avs prices went up 11.1 percent this year, one of the highest year-over-year increases in the NHL.

What's new

The Avalanche declined across the board, but the biggest fall came in the players category, where Colorado fell from No. 24 to No. 70. Fans expecting another trip to the playoffs watched their team limp to a last-place finish in the Central and a drop of more than 20 points after the impressive triple-digit total in 2013-14. That's certainly part of the problem, but one of the fans' biggest complaints was that the players aren't accessible to fans. The Avalanche roster is loaded with likable players such as Jarome Iginla, Landeskog and Duchene. Colorado's best defenseman, Erik Johnson, is also among the league's most down-to-earth guys. But this organization has long kept the media at arm's length, and it clearly isn't finding effective ways to connect fans to the players.

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