The Avs could fill out the remainder of their top-six forwards with wingers P.A. Parenteau, Alex Tanguay and Steve Downie. Parenteau, who will enter his second season in Denver in 2013-14, led Colorado with 18 goals in 2013 and also tied Duchene for the team lead with 43 points.
The 33-year-old Tanguay, meanwhile, is a former Colorado teammate of both Roy and Sakic and is back in the Avalanche fold for the first time since the 2005-06 season. Last year, the Quebec native registered 11 goals and 16 assists in 40 games for the Calgary Flames.
Downie, a hard-hitting player with strong scoring potential, is an important piece of the puzzle for Colorado. The 26-year-old missed almost all of last season after suffering a season-ending ACL tear to his right knee in just the second game of the season.
Although Colorado boasts a wealth of potential up front, the club has yet to show it can put it all together on a nightly basis. The team was ranked 26th in the NHL with just 2.38 goals per game last season, a number that needs to get better in 2013-14.
DEFENSE - While the Avs are loaded with potential on offense, the blue line situation doesn't inspire as much hope for the immediate future. In fact, Colorado's lack of a stud No. 1 defenseman made it somewhat surprising the club opted to take MacKinnon at first overall instead of big blueliner Seth Jones, who wound up falling to the Nashville Predators at No. 4.
When he was acquired in a trade with St. Louis during the 2010-11 season, Erik Johnson was supposed to be Colorado's No. 1 defenseman of the future. However, that has yet to materialize.
Johnson missed 17 games due to injury in 2013, but it doesn't seem likely he could've salvaged his season if he played a full 48. The No. 1 overall pick of the 2006 draft managed only four assists in 31 games last season and ended the year with a minus-three rating.
Even more glaring than his lack of offensive production was the fact Johnson finished third on the blue line in average ice time, as Colorado used him less than Tyson Barrie and Matt Hunwick.
Barrie, a 22-year-old who was picked by Colorado in the third round of the 2009 draft, not only led Colorado in ice time last season, but he also paced the blue line with two goals and 11 assists. Hunwick added six assists in 43 games, while Jan Hejda recorded 10 points on one goal and nine assists.
Along with group mentioned above, Ryan Wilson and Stefan Elliott will also be back for the Avalanche, but they could lose playing time due to Colorado adding Cory Sarich, Andre Benoit and Nate Guenin during the offseason.
GOALTENDING - With a talented, but low-scoring offense and a pedestrian defense in front of him, Varlamov shouldn't be judged too harshly for his 11-21-3 season in 2013.
Still, Roy, who is one of the best goaltender's of his or any generation, is unlikely to make any excuses this season for his 25-year-old Russian netminder. Varlamov had a 2.59 goals against average in 2011-12, but that number ballooned to 3.02 last season. However, by earning three shutouts in his 33 starts it's clear Varlamov can take over a game when he's at his best.
Colorado has a solid backup option in veteran goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who is past his prime but still a fearless competitor. Giguere, who grew up idolizing Roy in his native Quebec, saw action in 18 games last season and went 5-4-4 with a 2.84 GAA and .908 save percentage.
WHEN ALL IS SAID AND DONE - It's easy to take shots at Colorado for trying to duplicate its past by handing the keys to the franchise to Sakic and Roy, but thanks to the club's recent struggles, the bar is set pretty low for them heading into this season. Qualifying for the playoffs seems like a tall order for this rebuilding club, but Roy's no-nonsense reputation could at least result in a better effort this season. Colorado still has a long road back to respectability, but the club is hoping it can move forward by looking to the past. If nothing else, it should be interesting to watch.