30 June 2007
Top 2-Line winger/center: The Avs really need a couple more goal scorers to fill out their top 2 lines. Wolski is nice, and can fill in, but he's still a sophomore and may not develop. Svatos seems to have lost it, and the Avs can't count on him to be able to fill those roles. Maybe one of those guys can fill the role, but depending on both would be a disaster. Luckily the Avs have money to spend and can get a big time scorer to help out. While a winger would be ideal it would be easy enough to convert a center, like Statsny, to a winger to make room for a top flight center.
Other Notables: Jason Blake, Forsberg (IF healthy), Ladislov Nagy, Vyacheslav Kozlov, Jeff O'Neil, Pascal DuPuis, Martin Gelinas, Ruslan Fedetenko, Petr Sykora
Avoid: Paul Kariya, Danny Briere, Eric Lindross, Bill Guerin, Scott Gomez
For the love of god do not sign under any circumstances: Todd Bertuzzi, Alexei Yashin
Defensemen: Ideally this would be a physical, hard hitting, stay-at-home type. I don't think it's any coincidence that the Avs got better when Sauer played physical and Finger was called up. They really set a physical tone for the rest of the season. There aren't too many of these Defensemen on the market, so the pickings are pretty slim. Failing that, another Power Play point-man who isn't terrible in his own end would be nice to have too.
Other Notables: Tom Poti, Brad Stuart, Daniel Tjarqvist, Brent Sopel
Avoid: Sheldon Sourray
Checking Line forward/PKer: The Avs don't have a good true checking line, and I think this really hurt them last season. Not only were they unable to stop teams from coming behind sometimes, but players like Sakic and Stastny were working the PK too often instead of resting. It's nice that they are great 2-way players, but I think putting them out there too often may reduce their offensive effectiveness. A good checking forward to take some of that defensive pressure off would be nice.
Notables: Wes Walz
Avoid: Jeff Freisen
Another (less expensive) goal scoring winger: Yes this might push both Wolski and Svatos to the 4th line, and maybe even off of the 4th line all-together (Svatos). Wolski struggled a little last season towards the end and I don't feel too confident in his ability to hold up for an entire season. (I don't know why I'm so down on Wolski lately. Maybe it's the Free agent $ blinding me). With injuries likely to happen and the normal shuffling that can occur I am sure Wolski will get plenty of time to play won the top 2 lines. As for Svatos, I don't really know why the made him a qualifying offer, because he seems to be the odd man out no matter what. However with Wolski these guys should be picked carefully, and really it's a luxury not a necessity.
And honestly if one of these 3 can't be signed, for a decent price, then I think Wolski would be just fine in there.
Ideally the Avs would role out a lineup that looked like
(Svatos,Parker, one other)
And frankly, I would be happy with that lineup headed into next season. It's 4 lines deep, with a decent defense and a good young puckstopper in the back.
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