An Avalanche of Questions

I listened to an interesting discussion on AM950 The FAN here in Denver after Colorado lost 7-1 at home to Calgary, making me take a serious look back on what has transpired this season for the Avs. As the ominous trade deadline of March 9th approaches, all of us must wonder what, if anything Pierre Lacroix will do to shake up this Avalanche franchise.

Coming into this year, talk around the NHL was that Colorado had assembled possibly one of the greatest offensive teams (or top two lines anyways) in NHL history. The thought of cycling through a lineup of Forsberg, Sakic, Hejduk, Kariya, Selanne, and Tanguay all on one given team sounded downright scary. On defense, Blake and Foote were clearly bonified blueliners, while Derek Morris was starting to develop into that hard-nosed d-man with the booming shot that we had traded Chris Drury and Stephane Yelle for. The only true question mark for the team would be how David Aebischer would be able to fill Patrick Roy’s enormous shoes.

Obviously, the season hasn’t panned out like most people expected. Kariya and Forsberg have been riddled with injuries, Selanne has been non-existant and is playing on the 3rd line, and Morris has scored just 5 goals. On the bright side, Tanguay is having a brilliant season and is leading the league in assists, and numerous rookies have stepped to make strong contributions to the team, including little d-man John-Michael Liles who is quarterbacking the first power play unit and has a total 25 points while playing in every game. And of course, not a single person can complain about how Abby has performed this season.

The Avalanche managed to make through the first 55 games of the year with one of the best records in the league, but since then the team has been plagued with inconsistency. The major factor in the teams troubles seems to be motivation. I would love to see the guys go out and actually hit somebody for once. Now that the team is in this tailspin, the players seem just as mystified as everyone else to why they can’t seem to turn things around. So, now is when I start to wonder, maybe this team DOES need a serious shakeup, especially on the offensive side of the team. Obviously, Lacroix is no stranger to the blockbuster deadline deal and the rumors are flying around Denver like geese. We all know that if Lacroix is going to make a trade, he’ll surprise everybody when it goes down.

So the question I have is who do you think would be a good player for the Avs to go after, and who could they give up without letting go of the few remaining top prospects there are in the system? Will Abby and/or Sauve crumble in the playoffs? Do we need another veteran who is desperate for a cup (a la Bourque) who can motivate the team into playing with emotion? Or should they forget about trading and instead look at the coaches? Or will nothing happen? Personally, I would love to dump Selanne for a young player or pick, but I’m pretty sure he has a no-trade clause. All I know is that the Avs won’t be hoistin Lord Stanley if they keep playing like they did against the Flames on Sunday.


20 Responses to An Avalanche of Questions

  1. JB-23 says:

    I am a huge AVS fan And i have been waiting for something to happen. But as of now nothing will happen no big names that is maybe a 3rd liner. I do think that they need to make a coaching change. I also think they miss Yelle, he was a big part of this team no matter what anyone says.

    Joel

  2. Lint07 says:

    If he didn’t knew it already, the game against Calgary today showed to Pierre Lacroix that Philippe Sauvé isn’t ready to become an NHL’er yet.

    It’s obvious that Lacroix will find a backup goaltender before Deadline day.

    The game today will force Lacroix to make yet another big move for the playoffs…

    I expect 2 trades from the Avs up until deadline day.

  3. PolishKid says:

    WOW! Well worded article. Great job!!!

    I really wish coaches could be traded like players. That would be awesome! I think the Avs should get Quenneville. He is a great coach and has some experience at his post. I think the Avs may be just an upset like the Stars were last year. The Stars last year were doing great but were not living up to all they could. Yes, they were leading the league pretty well, but that was all from the hype in there locker room and not from great play. If you see the Stars now, they are playing well and to their full extent. I guess it just happens.

  4. MAniac29 says:

    I don’t think the Avs really have the right pieces to offer, but I think that a deal with Pittsburgh sending either Tarnstrom and Aubin or Morozov and Aubin could happen. Aubin is a disposable, NHL proven goaltender, and Morozov could play very well with skilled linemates, while Tarnstrom is the best available offensive defensmen out there. Only problem is, I don’t think the Avs have what the Pens would be after, which would be probably a young NHL’er probably a foward, and I don’t see any fits on Colo. They’d probably want a pick also. A first and a good prospect would be good for Tanrstrom and Aubin, maybe a 3rd and a better prospect for Morozov and Aubin. Only problem is that right now, Jordan Krestanovich and Cody Mccormick are about the only propspects that’ve seen NHL time or even been to the AHL yet, and there is no one really young enough on the NHL roster other than Liles, who I would assume Colo is enamored with! I don’t think CP would bite on Krestanovich or Mccormick and I would imagine he’d prefer draft picks to any of the prospects still in junior hockey. So Colo could be looking at first and third/fourth for Aubin and Tarnstrom, maybe 2nd and 4th for Morozov and Aubin.

    I say give the Panthers a ring and grab Huselius while his stock is still so low. Plug him in with some talented linemates and watch him return to young superstar form!

  5. Tradedude says:

    Way to go Corson! Scored first goal of the season against the Sharkies last night.

    And how badly is Pressing hurt after yes another icing incident?

    Off topic I know.

  6. GeniushockeyKID says:

    two things are obvious when it comes to the aves at the deadline:

    1) they need to secure their goaltending by aquiering a solid backup to abby.

    2) they need an offensive spark.

    id go after dafoe and kolzig at goal, and halpern and o’neil on O

  7. wingerxx says:

    Some of the Avs’ problems run deeper than what would be seen on paper. They’re also missing Nikolishin, who was very good for them on draws. They’re also lost without Forsberg in the lineup. The best possible deal they can make is for a big center, who can win faceoffs, and take up time on the power play. The Avs just aren’t intimidating down the middle, and their forwards aren’t the big or nasty to begin with.

  8. JeffBurnz09 says:

    I think that dispite their good year so far, Colorado have some problems if you look closely. Forsberg is injuried alot, and doesn’t seem to have that desire to play anymore anyway. The guy can win scoring titles and play at a top level at will, but he just doesn’t seem to have the passion for the NHL anymore. I’m not saying he should play hurt, but when he does get hurt he’s not in a hurry to get back. I don’t really blame him, he’s a skilled player in a game that skilled players arn’t allowed to shine anymore. He wants to go back home and play his style of hockey for his home country team, and who can blame him?

    Signing Kariya and Selanne was not going to make Colorado the greatest team ever dispite what the popular belief at the time was. Karyia is good, he’s really good, but he’s not as good as he used to be, and even then he wasn’t as good as people thought he was. He’s not a playoff player, and the Ducks did what they did last year inspite of him doing nothing.

    Aebischer isn’t the starting goalie because he was ready, he’s the starting goalie because Roy retired. Look at it this way, in Dallas, Turco was ready to become the #1, so they let Belfour walk. If Roy was still playing this year, do you think Colorado would let him go?? Abby has done a great job, so far, but I just can’t see him doing it in the playoffs at this point. They need a proven veteran to at least back up Abby. Kolzig would be a great choice, and it wouldn’t shock me if he ended up as their playoff goalie. Kolzig is a top goaltender, and would be seen as such if he played on a better team during his career.

    To me, Granato seems like the kind of coach who knows enough about hockey to be a coach, but who’s team does well purely on their natural talent. He seems like the kind of coach who just fills out the line up card, tells the guys when to go out, and just lets the team win or lose on their own. He just doesn’t seem like the kind of coach that can win it by making smart decisions.

  9. TheDuk says:

    The team obviously is not getting motivated to play. We give the job of motivating the players to the coach. This is Granato’s first big test and the time on the clock is winding down.

    Phillipe Sauve’s last 3 games…

    7-1 loss vs. Calgary

    5-4 OT loss vs. Columbus

    5-1 loss vs. Edmonton

    Expect Salo, Dafoe, or Roloson in Denver by Wednesday.

    Looking for more rumors?

    Denverpost reports…

    “Former Av Claude Lemieux is playing in the Czech League and hoping an NHL team will call. … Published reports during the weekend said the Avs are considering acquiring help up front, with forwards Eric Daze (Chicago), Chris Gratton (Phoenix) and Jeff O’Neill (Carolina) possible acquisitions.”

    http://www.denverpost.com/Stories/0,1413,36~84~2003334,00.html

    Gratton!?!

    You can be sure that the Denver Post like Gratton. They reported this rumor last year as well. Gratton is an awful player. Completely worthless.

    Daze?

    Always injured.

    O’Neill?

    Very unlikely that we’ll give the canes what they want.

  10. original6dan says:

    Gratton blows! Over 1300 PIM and a career -143!!! I don’t even know what else needs to be said.

    Daze? Has played in only 5 games this season due to injury(ies). I guess if he’s gonna be a cheap acquisition, he may be worth a try. But don’t think for a second that HE’S the answer to the Avs’ lack of offense. The team is already full of cheapies that are more of a hinderance. What have you done lately, Worrell, *****mins, Boughner, McAllister, Sauer?

    O’Neill is injured now… he’s off the trading block.

    As for Clod Lemieux, all I can say is “Ugh!” If you can’t play with the skill you’ve amassed, throw guys like Clod at your opponent so they can’t either.

    Getting rid of Granato is the ONLY thing that could change some attitudes on that team.

    Dan

  11. Byzz33 says:

    I’ll try with my predictions, based on what I think Colorado needs. They will get:

    1 – Tommy Salo

    2 – Eric Dazé

    Pure speculation (1000 Monopoly dollars on it!)

  12. Lanche says:

    I Agree Totally Yelle was a Huge part of our sucess in the late 90s and up through his trade to calgary i dont think we need anything done on our top lines or our D but a backup goaltender sure would help

  13. wingerxx says:

    Yeah…Granato I’m sure is trying to motivate these guys, but you can only put so much fire in the bellies of guys like Kariya and Selanne. Colorado teams have always played the best with nasty boys like Deadmarsh and Lemieux (back in the day) up front. They just don’t have that right now. They need a guy with some beef up front that can hit back, and win draws. Daze kinda/sorta fits that bill, and Gratton does too, to an extent. The only thing going for Gratton is that he’s a fair playoff player, so picking him up wouldn’t be the end of the world.

  14. justsomeguy says:

    Before reading the article about Messier not wanting to be traded from NY, I thought that he may have been a good fit with the Avs. He is the kind of player that can shake up the offense and more importantly shake up the locker room. His presence (a la Bourque) could give the team something to rally around. I realize that this deal is unlikely to happen…. but then again Pierre Lacroix is about as predictable around the deadline as Dennis Hopper on an acid binge. Just what the Avs would have to give up for Moose I am not sure. I wouldn’t give up anyone on the roster for such an obvious playoff rental and our prospects are few. I entirely agree about Sauve. The Avs really should get a another goalie and I like Fernandez to fill that role. Anyway, just some thoughts/hopes for the inevitable Avs deal(s) that will happen before tomorrow is over.

  15. GeniushockeyKID says:

    after thinking about this a little more today, id probably say irbe over dafoe. if their looking for a backup, hes cheaper. however if their looking for someone to save their asses if they get in trouble they should take the chance on kolzig. as far as offense, fedorov would be great, but i doubt it’ll happen. a more resonable prediction would be someone like demitra or mellanby depending on weither or not the blues have decided to be sellers by tomorrow.

  16. defenestrate says:

    You forgot the best part. Look at the Flames and tell me how many ex-Avs you see on there – Reinprecht, Regehr, Donovan, Simon, etc. etc.

  17. Qwerty9 says:

    Lest we forget the 2001 season. Heading into the playoffs the Avs had a horrific slump of a last month, just as we are seeing now. But with the addition of a cup-hungry, veteran defenseman, the Avs….well we all know the outcome of that year.

    Just like then, we need to add a cup-hungry, veteran something…goalie being on everybody’s mind. And Ill agree. Kolzig is the majority vote, but I have to say Manny Fernandez. Veteran: not quite. Cup-hunrgy: who isnt. Manny has proven his ability between the pipes, just look at last years first round dismissal. Splitting time with Roloson last year, and now being put as the back-up, you know he wants out of Minnesota. Granted he would be back-up to Abby, but he would get over it. Sauve had proven he isnt ready for NHL. Youngstar’s yes….but he’ll come around. As awesome as Abby has been this year, I dont think he can hold up throughout the playoffs. A goaltender is the direction to go….

  18. Madman9 says:

    Thanks for the compliment,

    You see, some of us 15 year old dumbasses actually have brains.

  19. commonwealth says:

    don’t forget about Drury, we sent him packing for Morris. 2 goals for Derek in 47 games…. All I know is Drury never went 4 games without scoring a goal… i miss him most.

    how odd… my name is also Joel…….

    -out

  20. commonwealth says:

    By now the Avs have traded for Barnaby, but for some reason they haven’t said anything on this site yet….

    Good move by the Avs….

    -out

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