Dater: Avs need more defense but shouldn’t mortgate future to get it

It’s time to seriously look toward the trade market. One media report late last week said the Avs were interested in Florida defenseman Dmitry Kulikov, the 14th player selected in the 2009 draft. He has been awful so far this season with the Panthers, but maybe a change of scenery under Roy’s guidance could get his once-promising career back on track. Still, if the kid can’t even stay in the lineup of the Florida Panthers right now (he was a healthy scratch last week), is this the answer?

Maybe the Avs should take a flyer on Rangers veteran Michael Del Zotto. It would be an expensive gamble, but if the Avs think they’re going to overcome the loss of Hejda by just playing Nick Holden more or bringing back Matt Hunwick, they’re probably going to be disappointed. One thing the Avs should be aware of, though: Don’t give up some first-round pick or some kid with real promise for a veteran fill-in.

Obviously, the Avs will be that much more dependent on Johnson now too. His plus-minus sure looks good, but it figures to get a stress test now that his partner Hejda is out. Even with Hejda, the Avs’ worrisome area was defense. But it’s important to keep the big picture in mind. Don’t overcompensate to try to “save” this season, when winning a Stanley Cup this season was always a big-time longshot.

In the old days, Pierre Lacroix probably would have gotten on the phone and tried to swing a deal for a Rob Blake or Ray Bourque and that was fine, because the Avs were so close to a Stanley Cup. Hey, this team could still win a Stanley Cup this season. Once you’re in the playoffs, you never know. But let’s get real here: That would still go hard against the odds.

Read more: Dater: Avs need more defense but shouldn’t mortgate future to get it – The Denver Post

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