Hall of Fame goaltender and former Colorado Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy announced his departure from the organization on Thursday afternoon, leaving the Avalanche without a head coach just two months before their regular season opener.
Roy, who also served as Vice President of Hockey Operations for the Avalanche, revealed that his vision for the future of the franchise was not “perfectly aligned with that of the organization,” citing that as his main reason for departure.
Roy’s tenure with the team started out well, as the team finished first in the Central Division in 2013-14 before being eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Minnesota Wild. The next two seasons did not go as well for the team, however, as Colorado failed to qualify for the playoffs in both the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons.
Perhaps the biggest move the Avalanche made during Roy’s time with the team was at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, when the Avs traded Ryan O’Reilly and Jamie McGinn to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for Mikhail Grigorenko, Nikita Zadorov, JT Compher and a 2015 second round draft pick (which they then traded to San Jose).
Roy had previously coached Girgorenko during his time with the QMJHL’s Quebec Remparts, a major reason why Girgorenko was involved in the deal. Grigorenko went on to have the best year of his career in his first year reunited with Roy, finishing the season with 27 points in 74 games.
Zadorov, however, would not have as strong of a season as Grigorenko. Zadorov registered just two points in 22 regular season games with the Avs before being demoted to the San Antonio Rampage, Colorado’s AHL affiliate.
Colorado seemingly has a bright future, as they have a talented young roster headlined by players such as Grigorenko, Gabriel Landeskog, and Nathan Mackinnon, which is why Roy’s departure is confusing. It is unknown right now exactly where Roy’s vision for the future differed from the rest of the organization’s, but one could guess that Grigorenko’s role in the future of the team played a part in Roy’s departure. Roy likely sees a lot of potential in the 22 year old Russian whom he has coached for the majority of his career, but it is a possibility that the rest of the organization doesn’t feel the same way.
Although Roy left the Avs in a tough predicament, expect the team to bounce back and have a strong season. Like the Sabres, the Avalanche have the type of roster that will be brilliant in the future, but have the potential to do some damage in the interim.