There’s bad, there’s bad luck, and then there’s the Colorado Avalanche.
The Avalanche were bad this season. Historically bad. Having earned a mere 48 points in 2016-17, their .293 points percentage was officially the worst in the shootout era. Their 22 wins tied for second-worst. They finished dead last in the NHL in goals per game, goals against and power play percentage. They finished second-to-last on the penalty kill. Bad might even be a bit too polite in describing Colorado’s season.
But Colorado also had some bad luck. Once again, Semyon Varlamov could not stay healthy. The goaltender played in just 24 games (23 starts). It was his lowest games total since coming to Colorado in 2011, but the fifth time in six seasons that he appeared in fewer than 60 games. Colorado bet on Varlamov with a five-year, fully guaranteed $29 million contract back in 2014 and it hasn’t paid off. They also lost their top defenseman, Erik Johnson, during the 2016-17 season for almost half the season with a broken leg in early December. Colorado won just nine games without him.
The Avs’ bad luck and bad season collided on Saturday in the NHL Draft Lottery.
Colorado entered the lottery with an 18 percent chance of landing the top pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. Those odds were the highest among all 30 NHL teams. The worst they could select, based on their season record, was fourth.
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) April 29, 2017
Colorado not only had just about the worst possible season they could imagine. They landed the worst possible draft spot that season could warrant. The New Jersey Devils, who had only an 8.5 percent chance of landing the No. 1 overall pick, will select first on June 23.
With the fourth pick of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, the Colorado Avalanche… Will make a pick they hope can end their bad luck and their bad play.
— NHL (@NHL) April 30, 2017