Avs miss playoffs again; time is ticking on their future

The Avs have a real decision to make about Paul Stastny. He entered Saturday’s season finale with 21 goals and 53 points. Respectable numbers, for sure. But, fair or not, the burden of expectations that came with his five-year, $33 million contract haven’t been met.

Too many times, his performance was lacking in big games, with a pointless, minus-4 game at San Jose a couple of weeks ago part of a contest that essentially sealed his team’s fate. We all expected Stastny to meet or exceed the two 70-plus point seasons he had in three of his first four in the NHL. But the fact is, he hasn’t hit the 60-point mark in the last two seasons.

Sherman has to decide if continuing to invest in Stastny is best, or whether the better option is to ship him for what probably would be a decent return and thereby go with Duchene and O’Reilly as the 1-2 centers for the foreseeable future.

In the final analysis, the Avs deserve some credit for still being playoff-eligible entering Game No. 81, despite having the league’s youngest roster and second-lowest payroll. But there is only so much time fans — especially in a hockey market like Denver that was conditioned early to expect excellence — will issue passes for nonplayoff seasons.

Starting next season, the clock starts ticking on the Avs’ excuse-making about missing the playoffs.

Read more: Dater: Avs miss playoffs again; time is ticking on their future – The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/avalanche/ci_20349641/avs-miss-playoffs-again-time-is-ticking-their#ixzz1rSYAAjo4