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PostPosted: Thu May 09, 2019 2:38 pm 
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Summer begins for the Avalanche (warning: MASSIVE post here because I felt the need to put my thoughts on screen).

Joe Sakic's To-Do List:
1. Re-sign Mikko Rantanen to a long-term deal, will likely be very expensive.
2. Look far and wide for a legitimate 2nd line center. Word has it it's going to be Kevin Hayes, but he is by no means ideal. Whoever they get in the draft won't be ready next season.
3. See what's available via trade/free agency. Secondary scoring is a must.
4. Re-sign Pavel Francouz to a contract, slot him in as the 2G behind Grubauer. Also better get a good AHL vet for the Eagles as a #3.
5. Put a plan together regarding Tyson Barrie, who has one year remaining on his current contract. I'm not saying trade him, but make the decision early-on whether or not to pay the man or ship him out.
6. Try like hell to lock down Nikita Zadorov to a reasonable deal. His last contract negotiation was not pretty, and he'll want a decent amount of change. He will always be a middle-pairing physical defenseman with some serious consistency issues (he was awful for the final three games of the SJ series) but there's simply no one else on this roster who does what he does. He brings a physical edge, has decent, albeit not great, defensive instincts, and is able to move and shoot the puck with above-average ability. And for a big guy he skates pretty well.
7. Perhaps...start looking to see if there might be a taker for Erik Johnson. Pains me to say it, but Condor struggled for long, long stretches this season and apart from maybe 1-2 games was a disaster in the playoffs. He has trade protection, which complicates matters in the upcoming expansion draft, but I think being the team guy he is, he could be persuaded to waive it. He's 31 and age really looks like it's starting to creep into his game.

UFAs who are almost assuredly departing the team:
G Semyon Varlamov
D Patrik Nemeth
F Gabriel Bourque
F Derick Brassard
F Sven Andrighetto

UFAs who might stay:
F Colin Wilson

RFAs in need of new deals:
D Nikita Zadorov
F J.T. Compher
F Alexander Kerfoot
F Vladislav Kamenev
F Dominic Toninato
F A.J. Greer
D Ryan Graves

Prospects to watch:
Dominic Toninato, A.J. Greer: Both played starring roles in the Colorado Eagles' inaugural AHL season. They don't project to be more than 4th line defensive grinder-types, and the organization has been rather lukewarm on them. I hope they're given a legitimate shot at making the team out of camp next season, but they very well could just be cut loose as well.

Martin Kaut: 2018's first round pick had a good, but not spectacular, rookie pro season. Will have a chance to make the team next year, but very well could start in the minors again. Projects to be a good two-way winger with size and scoring punch.

Cale Makar: Duh.

Pavel Francouz: I mean...is he a prospect? I suppose he might me, even though he's nearly 30. Regardless, he was solid in very short stints in Denver, and it's assumed he will be the backup/1B goalie next year with Varlamov on his way out. He was quite good for the Eagles during his time there. It would be pretty disastrous if another team swooped in and signed him, so Joe has got to get the deal done before July 1.

Conor Timmins: The guy taken by the Avs AFTER Cale Makar missed an entire year of hockey due to post-concussion symptoms stemming from a hit taken during the 2018 Memorial Cup tournament. Adrian Dater said Timmins could have played late in the season, but the Avs chose to err on the side of caution and shut him down. If he's still not ready by the beginning of camp in fall 2019, then I'm writing him off. No offense to the kid, it's not his fault...I just think at that point the question shifts away from what's best for his career to what's best for his quality of life going forward. That would be a huge blow to the organization as he projects to be an (possibly) elite defenseman.

4th Overall Pick: Unfortunately, it won't be Jack Hughes or Kaapo Kakko, but it will be a very good prospect who could help the team as early as 2020. Don't know if that name ends up being Turcotte, Zegras, Byram, Podkolzin, Cozens, Dach, or someone else, but it should be a hell of a player whoever it is.

Tyson Jost: Lastly, the guy the Avs picked 10th overall in 2016 (the guy they picked in 2015 10th overall has kinda/sotta panned out) has been a work in progress to say the least. Some nights he shows utter brilliance, and came through with HUGE plays in the final two games of the season. Some nights his lack of size and speed are readily apparent. I don't think he'll ever be a star, but he shows good instincts in all three zones, has a decent release, and works hard both on and off the ice. If he can continue to utilize open ice to create offense, I think he'll round out into a good player. But he's also gotta work on his shooting and maybe figuring out how to get a little more speed and/or power out of his frame. I'm still not convinced he's going to do all that, or any of that, but he did kinda make me eat crow this season after he was recalled from a brief AHL stay, so I hope he keeps it up.

Expansion Draft:
It's not for another year but there are still concerns of losing a good player to Seattle. Because they chose to play Cale Makar and burn the first year of his ELC, he will be eligible for the expansion draft, meaning they'll have to protect him, Girard, and Barrie at the very least. Up front you obviously have to protect the top line guys and possibly whoever the Avs choose to sign to a big-ticket deal for secondary scoring. And of course, they can only protect one goalie.

My guess is they'll probably lose a decent young forward like Compher or Kerfoot, or a defenseman like Nikita Zadorov. I don't think Seattle will want EJ even if he waives, though that would probably be the ideal scenario. It may take a pick or prospect to "steer" them away from certain players, but for obvious reasons I'm pretty wary of that. I suppose it's good news that Avs fans are somewhat worried about this draft because it means they have a good nucleus of players. The last time there was an expansion draft, the Avs were coming off the worst season in modern NHL history, so it wasn't like they had to go out of their way to protect a number of players.

Very excited about the future of this team. I've been asking for one thing during this decade rollercoaster rebuild. I want to see actual progress toward the goal. Not some fluke, percentage-driven run followed by garbage the next 2-3 years after that, I want real, sustainable success that they can build off of. I think we saw just that this season. They knew they had to run the table to even make the postseason after a terrible midseason swoon, and they did just that. They beat--no, TROUNCED--the best team in the Western Conference. They took a Stanley Cup favorite to 7 games with a beat up roster that was hardly firing on all cylinders. I think they are on the right track.

Some things that need to be looked at:
Special teams were not up to snuff this year. The power play relies too much on perfect snipes/deflections and not enough ugly rebounds and crashing the net. The penalty kill was a disaster until late in the season, and is still a little too reliant on collapsing and blocking shots. You have speed, use it. Be more aggressive.

Gotta figure out the 3-on-3 thing. They seemed to do so a little near the end of the year, but it's ridiculous that a team that can throw so many fast and talented players over the boards where they have TONS of room to operate struggles so badly.

Way too many sloppy changes and too-man-men penalties. And that lazy change by Landeskog that cost them the game-tying goal in Game 7 is not an isolated incident. For all his talk about attention to detail and discipline. Jared Bednar and his staff have to clean that up. No excuses.

The top line got overworked. Hopefully more help is coming next season, but deployment was at times a real issue. I get why they didn't "go big" in free agency or trade because they wanted to see what they had in Compher, Kerfoot, and Jost, but now they know those players have limited upside, there is no excuse whatsoever, you HAVE to go out and get someone who can supplement the Avalanche with additional scoring punch.

And lastly...ya gotta find a way to win a goddamned faceoff. I get that prowess at winning a draw does not correlate into wins, and it doesn't necessarily even affect possession metrics, but it's really, really annoying when you automatically lose 15 seconds of power play time every single time, or occasionally give up a quick goal, simply because you didn't win that puck. C'mon, Nate...you spend every offseason with Sid the Kid, get some pointers.


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PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2019 8:22 pm 
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Avs sign Swedish goalie prospect Adam Werner to a 2-year ELC. 6-5, 200 lbs., was taken in the 5th round of the 2016 draft.

This further solidifies what we all already knew--that the organization is moving on from Semyon Varlamov. I won't lie, I understand he is far and away the best starter the Avs have had since Patrick Roy, but I am breathing a sigh of relief knowing he's gone, even if Grubauer and Francouz implode next season. There were just too many things both on and off the ice that made me wary of the guy. From a pure hockey standpoint, he's not a good bet for a long-term deal given his lengthy injury history, inconsistency, and is now entering his 30s. I've no doubt he'll get offers from other teams, but he could also get a lucrative contract and return to the KHL as well. Whatever the case, I wish him well, but part of me is glad I don't have to root for him any longer.

Avs will likely look for a vet to take up the pipes in Loveland, with Grubauer and Francouz taking the top two spots with the NHL club. Werner likely gets that #4 spot in the organizational depth chart with the chance of moving up. The Avs' current "goalie prospect," Spencer Martin, will likely not be retained given his struggles at the AHL level.


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PostPosted: Wed May 22, 2019 1:27 pm 
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Adrian Dater, who recently left his gig at BSN Denver, recently tweeted that the Avs are going to go all-in on Kevin Hayes. In a lot of ways, that makes sense. To paraphrase Elliotte Friedman, he checks a lot of boxes for them. I'm not the biggest fan of his game, but they desperately need a 2nd line center, and unfortunately they won't be getting immediate help via the draft. Best-case scenario, they sign Hayes to a long-term deal, a kid from the draft like Dach/Cozens/Turcotte/Zegras develops over the next 1-2 years and eventually takes over, and Hayes either gets bumped over to wing or 3rd line center.

Dater says they're also going to make a run at Artemi Panarin, but I still think Bread and Bob have made up their minds where they want to go.


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PostPosted: Wed May 22, 2019 7:20 pm 
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Pokecheque wrote:
Dater says they're also going to make a run at Artemi Panarin, but I still think Bread and Bob have made up their minds where they want to go.
Where's that? FLA?


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PostPosted: Wed May 22, 2019 7:26 pm 
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Hayes makes sense. He'll get paid but I wonder if teams really see him as a no. 2 centre at this point.

Didn't push the needle in Winnipeg like Stastny did, but the Jets were a worse team overall.

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PostPosted: Wed May 22, 2019 7:55 pm 
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E.L. wrote:
Hayes makes sense. He'll get paid but I wonder if teams really see him as a no. 2 centre at this point.

Didn't push the needle in Winnipeg like Stastny did, but the Jets were a worse team overall.


He was doing relatively well under Quinn in NY prior to being shipped out. Not sure if the Jets were just not that good or Maurice just didn't know how to use him or what.

There's a lot about Hayes I don't like. He's a big guy who sometimes plays on the perimeter, and while it really isn't the biggest deal when it comes to winning games or even possession, I'm getting really sick and tired of watching the Avs continually lose key faceoffs. And Hayes is yet another guy who just isn't good at them. But he's a big body on a team that really could use a guy like that up front. Rumor has it the Avs tried hard to get him the first time around before he ultimately decided to go with the Rangers.

Logical Progression wrote:
Where's that? FLA?


Yep. Colorado has a lot of things going for it...but a nice sunny beach is not one of them.


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PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2019 1:49 pm 
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Pavel Francouz signs a 1-year, one-way, $950,000 deal with the Avs. Yet another nail in the coffin of Semyon Varlamov's tenure with the team.

He should be getting lucrative offers from the NHL and KHL this summer but everyone questions about his durability will hurt his market value. No idea where he ends up...Lumbus maybe?


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PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2019 2:38 pm 
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Pokecheque wrote:
Pavel Francouz signs a 1-year, one-way, $950,000 deal with the Avs. Yet another nail in the coffin of Semyon Varlamov's tenure with the team.

He should be getting lucrative offers from the NHL and KHL this summer but everyone questions about his durability will hurt his market value. No idea where he ends up...Lumbus maybe?


Wonder if he's willing to take a Halak-type gig where he plays 30-40 as a 1b.

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PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2019 5:15 pm 
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E.L. wrote:
Wonder if he's willing to take a Halak-type gig where he plays 30-40 as a 1b.


I think that's the idea, right in line with the growing trend of goalie tandems instead of a starter who goes 60+ games.

The real question, to me, is what happens with current goalie coach Jussi Parkkila. He was brought in at the behest of Varlamov, who is assuredly gone come July 1st. Given how things were going to start 2019 I thought for sure Parkkila was going to follow him out the door but then Grubauer got hot and suddenly the Avs not only made the playoffs, but curb-stomped the Flames and took the Sharks to seven games, largely because the goaltending was astounding. Jonathan Bernier also sang his praises when he righted his career in Colorado last season. So does he stay? I'm guessing so, but given his connections with Varly I'm just not sure.


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