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Northwest
Sarah Kwak
October 13, 2008
MINNESOTA Wild
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October 13, 2008

Northwest

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COLORADO
Avalanche

LAST SEASON
44-31-7, 6th in West; lost in second round to Red Wings

KEY ADDITIONS
Coach Tony Granato, G Andrew Raycroft, D Daniel Tjarnqvist, RW Darcy Tucker

KEY LOSSES
LW Andrew Brunette, D Jeff Finger, Coach Joel Quenneville, D Kurt Sauer, G Jos� Th�odore

IT'S BEEN six years since Patrick Roy hung up his pads, and it's been six years that the Avalanche has been looking for a true No. 1 goalie. Last season Peter Budaj was expected to establish himself, but midway through he had lost his starting job to the usually erratic Jos� Th�odore, who played surprisingly well in Colorado's playoff push. Now Budaj is back in net despite middling statistics—2.57 GAA and .903 save percentage—that were worse when the pressure was on: .750 save percentage in OT and a 4--9 record in shootouts. Colorado's insurance policy in the absence of Th�odore, who went to Washington as a free agent? Andrew Raycroft, who was booted out of Toronto after a .890 save percentage over the past two years.

Old pros Joe Sakic (above), the Hall of Fame--bound 39-year-old center, and Adam Foote, 37, the leader of a decent defensive corps, could make the Avalanche respectable. The goaltending, though, could dash any hopes for the playoffs.

VANCOUVER
Canucks

LAST SEASON
39-33-10, 11th in West

KEY ADDITIONS
RW Steve Bernier, RW Pavol Demitra, LW Darcy Hordichuk, C Kyle Wellwood

KEY LOSSES
C Trevor Linden, C Brendan Morrison, LW Markus Naslund

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