Not long ago the Colorado Avalanche were a prime destination for elite NHL players. The franchise was known for augmenting its already strong lineup by trading for stars such as Ray Bourque, Rob Blake and Theo Fleury or signing marquee free agents like Teemu Selanne and Paul Kariya (the original, more accomplished version of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter).

Unfortunately for Avs fans, those days are no more.

Now, under GM Greg Sherman and an ownership in no mood to spend anywhere close to the salary cap ceiling, Colorado routinely puts together a middle-of-the-pack attack that nobody seriously envisions as a Stanley Cup threat.

This summer was no different: while some teams threw money at Matt Carle, Dennis Wideman and Ray Whitney, the Avalanche came away with winger P-A Parenteau from the Isles, long-time Wild defenseman Greg Zanon and ex-Rangers fringe forward John Mitchell.

(I’ll pause here while everyone recovers from being bowled over.)

I have absolutely nothing against those three players. Parenteau earned himself a great payday after emerging as a scoring threat on Long Island, while Zanon is one of the NHL’s better shot-blockers. They’ll help in their own way, but my question is, will it be enough? And my first answer is, it certainly will not. Just like last season, when I looked at what Sherman did – acquiring Semyon Varlamov from Washington for Colorado’s 2012 first-round draft pick and adding defensemen Jan Hejda and Shane O’Brien – I’m less than impressed with the current state of the Avs and I expect them to miss the playoffs for the third straight season and fourth in the past five years.

This team was 25th in goals per game (2.43) and 15th in goals-against (2.66) and you’re telling me it will be discernably better in either regard in 2012-13 with Sherman’s alterations? That’s a stretch even the world’s most flexible yoga practitioner wouldn’t dare make.

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