This is something I’ve been avoiding, partly because things are still a little up in the air, and partly because I will not be right. But if I wasn’t willing to stick my neck out, I should have just written a diary. Since this is my first time doing this, don’t expect too much out of me.
|Left Wing||Center||Right Wing|
|Andrew Brunette||Joe Sakic||Milan Hejduk|
|Wojtek Wolski||Paul Stastny||Marek Svatos|
|Steve Konowalchuk||Tyler Arnason||Ian Laperriere|
|Antti Laaksonen||Pierre Turgeon||Cody McCormick|
|Jordan Leopold||John-Michael Liles|
|Karlis Skrastins||Ossi Vaananen|
|Patrice Brisebois||Brett Clark|
|Ken Klee||Kurt Sauer|
Now, before you start laughing, hear me out. That second line is a severe if. Huge if. And why would I do something like that? Simple, I want to see a youth line. I want to see what some young guys can do on a team that has been relying on the older core to get the job done for too long. I want to see something beyond just plugging in a stat and seeing what happens (remember 2003-04, the coming of Kariya and Selanne? Remember how well that worked?). We don’t know if Stastny or Wolski will crack the lineup (Stastny, probably not, Wolski, most likely) , but the door is open. We also don’t know of Svatos is going to re-sign, but Terry Frei seems to think so. So there will be some serious modification to the forward lines, but it’s what I would like to see happen. Don’t freak out on me too much. Brett McLean will probably be in there, rather than Stastny (I haven’t completely lost my mind), but next year, Arnason gets the boot, and if Stastny does well in Lowell Albany, expect a full time call up. I don’t expect (hope) to see too much of May.
Arnason is getting buried on the third line until we see if he can be motivated. With as cap strapped as the Avs are, if you signed on the dotted line, and you don’t do your job, expect to be on wavers quickly.
McCormick could shift around, depending on performance.
Swap Konowalchuk with Wolski any time you want. But Konowalchuk may be the anchor Arnason needs, or we need for Arnason (not the same thing)
Leopold will be out for the first several games this year, including training camp. That’s going to put him well behind when he does join the team. Kurt Sauer will probably be his replacement, but it could be Klee. Klee. Why did the Avs sign him? Hell, his signing was buried deep in the announcement that Budaj got re-signed. Why bother? Unless he’s going to play punch-in-the-face, he is a boat anchor. Someone tell me why. Really, your comments on this are welcome.
The biggest question mark is in goal. That is not a sentence that should be used when you are spending $5.5 million on one goalie. If he makes a comeback, it would save the Avs from themselves. My belief is that he could, if he starts working on the weaknesses that have climbed into his game. If he doesn’t, we have Budaj to back him up, and then nothing. And Budaj may be better then Sauve, but he is not a solid number 1.
From last season, too many Avs took the lockout off. We saw what a difference that made, especially when you look at all the young players league wide who came into the spotlight last year (do you think a solid year in Lowell helped Eric Staal?) Sakic, Blake, Tanguay (6 games played), Brunette, Laaksonen, Laperriere, Turgeon, and Brisebois (10 games played). That’s a lot of time missed, from a lot of players who were expected to perform. I’m not interested in making Ken Hitchcock excuses here. What I am saying is we get to see what happens to those players who are back in step with the rest of the league.
Also, don’t forget that this is a new look Avs. This is not the same high flying team as before, and should not be treated as such. How they will be coached is going to be interesting. The Q is used to the old Avs and the Old St. Louis Blues. Is he going to try to make this team like his Blues were? How will The Mountain (GM Giguere/Pres Lacroix) react to all this? Heck, how will the fans react?
So that’s it in a nut shell. That is me sticking my neck out there to get chopped off. I’d love to hear what you think. Or, if you really feel the need, point and laugh. Leave a comment or two. You’d be hard pressed to embarrass yourself any more than I have.
Special thanks to Earl (my nae is) Sleek at the Battle of California for the html work on the table. Go to the Battle site by one person.