Sunday, April 12, 2009
Season Over, Random Thoughts
Finally, we're granted death after being tortured for 82 games straight. For the second year in a row the team dealt with a mass of injuries, but unlike last year couldn't overcome them.
Peter Forsberg did not ride in on his white horse to lead this team to the playoffs. Joe Sakic did not make a late season return from injury. Familiar faces did not return at the trade deadline to help with a playoff push.
Instead, we were treated with the worst finish of any team in the league. Over the final two months of the season, the Avalanche compiled a pathetic 4-11-4 record. Even more pathetic is the record since the start of 2009: 13-28-4.
Tony Granato has got to go. I understand how injured and unskilled this team is, but his coaching only enhances the problem. I hate Darcy Tucker with a passion, but I can't believe that he could go from scoring 18 goals one season to scoring only 16 points the next based solely on career decline.
There's no way Granato will still be around next season if Francois Giguere cherishes his job (which he should). Don't be surprised if "coach G" is laid off this week.
A Tucker buyout also wouldn't shock me. He's the player that has stood out as horrible this year (aside from Arnason, who isn't signed), and I believe management might cut the cord. I don't think buying out Tucker is a great idea because it means we'll still be paying for him during the 2011 season.
The NHL lottery draft is Tuesday, April 14th. If the Avs win, they jump from drafting 3rd overall to 1st overall, where it'll be likely that they draft London Knights superstar John Tavares.
If they Avalanche draft 3rd or 4th (which could happen if a 24-27 ranked team wins the lottery), they will likely be draft either speedy center Matt Duchene, power forward Evander Kane, flashy winger Magnus Svensson-Paajari, or hulking defenseman Jared Cowen.
I think any chance of Colorado drafting Victor Hedman is down the tubes. It's incredibly unlikely he'll still be on the board if the Avs draft 3rd; if they win the lottery and draft 1st, I can say with 95% certainty they'll take John Tavares.
Next year is going to be brutal. The Avs are in cap hell, and NEED to re-sign RFA's Jones, McLeod, Cumiskey, and Vernace. Other players who it may be in their interest to re-sign are Ian Laperriere, Cody McCormick, Daniel Tjarnqvist, and Ben Guite. Oh, and some bum named Joe Sakic, should he choose to play.
Doing this is going to be nearly impossible; all four noted RFA's will likely double their salaries from this season. If Joe Sakic does indeed decide to play, I'm not sure how he can be signed for anything more than 3 million.
Also, this team doesn't have a single goalie signed for next season. Tyler Weiman may deserve a look as one of the goalies next year; he only had 21 wins for the Monsters this year, but 8 of them came by shutout.
Avs prospect Trevor Cann (London Knights, OHL) may also get a look as back-up, or starter given cap constraints. Right now Cann is finishing off an impressive regular season (30-10-1, 2.51 GAA, 0.917 SV%) with an even more impressive playoff run (8-1, 2.23 GAA, 0.927 SV%). I think it would be very interesting to see teammates Tavares and Cann both playing for the Avalanche next season.
An interesting fact to add to that is that Columbus Calder shoe-in Steve Mason was London's starting goalie last year. So could it be possible that there's a repeat in the form of Trevor Cann? Doubt it, but at least we can hope. Plus anything is better than Budaj and Raycroft at this point.
Rumors are swirling that Granato and Giguere will be replaced by Patrick Roy and Eric Lacroix, respectively. I'd be thrilled with Roy; I think he is a guy who can fire some passion into his players, which is something Granato is incapable of.
But as for Lacroix...it would be every Avalanche fans nightmare come true. He was widely hated as a player, and to my knowledge has no experience in a general managers role at any level of hockey.
I'd be fine if Pierre came back, but the thought of Eric Lacroix as the new GM makes me cringe; I don't hate the guy like some do, I just don't think he's a good choice. Or at least, he should be given an assistant GM role to his father before taking on the full time role.
Finally, congrats to Avs prospects Brandon Yip, Colby Cohen, and Kevin Shattenkirk for winning the national championship with Boston University. Cohen had the overtime winner, assisted by Shattenkirk: