Sunday, May 31, 2009

Offseason Needs (Part 4)

Welcome back for Offseason needs part 4.


The 2008-2009 version of the Colorado Avalanche finished dead last in scoring in the NHL with 190 goals, 8 less than the New York Islanders. Most of this can be attributed to injuries; with Stastny, Smyth, and Sakic shut down for the year, the Avs were shut out 4 times in their final 7 games.

So right away, the goal should be to stay healthy. Whether that means getting a new medical staff, or reducing Paul Stastny's penalty kill time (so he isn't out there blocking slap shots with his forearm), something must be done. No team has had the key injuries Colorado has had the last two seasons, and that has to change for this team to be competitive.

When dealing with scoring forwards, there are alot of questions we must ask. Will Joe Sakic return? Will Matt Duchene play in the NHL (if Colorado drafts him)? Should Wojtek Wolski play center?

To counter this, I'm going to make three versions of the Avs top two lines (again, lines fluctuate).


Smyth (6.25) - Stastny (6.60) - Hejduk (3.90)
Tanguay (4.50*) - Wolski (2.80) - Stewart (0.850)/Svatos (2.050)

This line combination is assuming Sakic retires and Duchene either isn't drafted by Colorado or stays in the OHL. They key addition here is Tanguay, who I think could realistically sign for 4.5 million. And honestly, it wouldn't surprise me if it happened, especially if Lacroix is still running the show on July 1st.

Also, I'm not a fan of Svatos at all. He's bound to get hurt again and is too streaky. I think it would be in the Avs best interest to try to trade him for a 2nd round pick at this years NHL Entry draft.

This first top 6 forward collaboration would put the Avs at 51.275 million, still working with the number we established in Offseason Needs 3.


Smyth (6.25) - Stastny (6.60) - Hejduk (3.90)
Wolski (2.80) - Sakic (4.50*) - Stewart (0.850)/Svatos (2.050)

Basically, flip Tanguay out for Sakic. Same cap hit as with LINES 1.

I know alot of Avalanche fans would like to see Wolski stay at center, but let's face it: he scores more playing LW with Sakic;

2006-2007: 22 G, 55 pts
2007-2008 playoffs: 2 G, 5 pts in 7 GP

2007-2008: 18 G, 48 pts (didn't play much with Sakic due to Sakic's injury)
2008-2009: 14 G, 42 pts (centering Smyth and Hejduk, two solid 1st line wingers)


Smyth (6.25) - Stastny (6.60) - Hejduk (3.90)
Wolski (2.80) - Duchene (3.90*) - Stewart (0.850)/Svatos (2.050)

Basically, all three of these combinations are just flipping centers around. Duchene's cap hit should be somewhere around 3.7-3.9 million, so for the sake of this blog let's expect the worst.

I honestly don't believe Duchene will play in the NHL if Sakic returns for another season, so I'm not going to deal with that scenario. The cap hit in this scenario would be 50.675 million.

Stay tuned for the 5th and final part, which will deal with (drum roll) goalies.

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