Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Re: This one’s on management

Adrian Dater posted a blog late last night and I thought I'd comment on it.

All in all, I agree with it. The offseason was horrible. Colorado clearly had money to spend, but let a good goalie and a consistent winger walk, signed an aging oft-injured winger, and four other free agents that might not have been signed had Colorado not done it (Tjarnqvist, Raycroft, Willsie, Ledin).

In fact, Colorado's offseason was a laughing stock. Where's the logic of signing two guys that Toronto, a team in crisis, doesn't even want? Why couldn't management sign Markus Naslund, who makes an average of 4 million dollars over the next two seasons, instead of signing the mentioned players to a combined salary of nearly 5 million?

I won't jump all over the Tucker move. I'm fine with it; he's a good team guy. But all the other moves make very little sense. Cumiskey played nearly 40 games last season; was signing a player like Tjarnqvist to a one way contract necessary?

Couldn't some of the money have been used on one of the other free agent goalies, like Conklin, Kolzig, or even Curtis Joseph? I'll take any of those guys before I take Budaj, especially the first two. I was very hopeful Kolzig, who finished out last season 19-10-4 after Bruce Boudreau took over, would end up in an Avalanche jersey. Instead, fans watched in horror as Colorado bolstered it's shaky goaltending by adding a guy with the worst record in the NHL last season.

Pierre Lacroix needs to do something. Yes, the current president and former GM needs to work his magic once again. Do you, the reader, really think PL would have gone into this season with Peter Budaj as his starting goalie? I sure as heck don't!

And I haven't even got to talking about the penalty kill, which finished 22nd last year, and is currently dead last. Stephane Yelle wasn't signed until a month after the free agency period began, and only ended up signing for 750 K. If Avs management is willing to pay Willsie 800 K (not knocking him; he's decent in his own right), then where's the logic in not signing a player like Yelle? Willsie (when he gets called up...) will only see 4th line minutes, but Yelle could have helped Colorado get it's PK out of the gutter, at least making it somewhat respectable.

It's really been painful to watch. This team has a defense corps as good as anyone's, and the same can be said about it's top 6 forwards. The 4th line isn't too bad either. But a 3rd line lacking an identity and league worst goaltending have caused this team an 0-3 start.

If I were named GM of Colorado this second, here's the two simple moves I would make over the next week:

- Trade for Khabibulin. Clearly, he can still stop the puck. It doesn't matter how expensive he is; it's better to overpay and get a guy who can stop the puck than it is to underpay (Budaj) and get an 0-3 start to the season. Clearly Francois Giguere didn't follow that logic, deciding the penny pinch in the Theodore negotiations. I'd try to offer up Arnason, Salei, and Budaj.

Chicago probably doesn't want Arnason back, but everyone knows they need a center. Patrick Sharp should be playing the wing on the top line, not centering the 2nd line.

As for Salei, no offense to the guy, but he's overpaid, and this team doesn't need a #6 defenseman making over 3 million dollars. In Chicago, however, he'd be a #4 or #5 defenseman, and they could use a guy like Salei with their weak third defense pair (not to mention the 0-2-1 start). In the end, this move would cost Colorado around 1.5 million of it's current CAP space, leaving roughly 4 million to make moves with down the road.

If Chicago didn't want Arnason, I'd replace him with Svatos in the trade. I'd have no problem with that; Svatos is a one dimensional player who probably won't be in the league much longer with his injury problems and inconsistent play.

- Sign Yanic Perreault. He's not the best penalty killer, but he IS the best faceoff man, probably ever. He would easily fill Arnason role; especially considering he only had one goal less than Arnason last year, despite playing 20 less games.

This team needs to swing a trade. If any team has ever needed to swing a trade 3 games into the season, this is the team. The problems will not fix themselves; Smyth, Stastny, Hejduk, and Sakic won't be able to combine for 6 goals a game, which appears to be the only way Colorado can win with Budaj between the pipes.

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