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Almost completely lost in the 6-2 thrashing of the Sharks Sunday was Karlis Skratsing was a healthy scratch for the first time I can remember. The NHL defenseman ironman has been losing third period Ice time lately (nice observation by In the Cheap Seats), and it culminated yesterday in Jeff Finger getting the start over “Skratch”. With Finger having a very strong game (1 assist, and some strong play in front of the net, including a scuffle with Milan Mihalik) and generally being a nice physical presence, what does that spell for Karlis Skrastins.

It’s obvious for both the near and far future of the Avs that Finger needs to continue to get playing time. He is coming along nicely, AND gives the Avs a chance to win. “Skratch” may become “Healthy Skratch” soon. I’m not trying to be hard on Skrastins here, but he just doesn’t seem like he fits the Avs defensive corps. He doesn’t seem like he’s a really good pairing with anyone on the team. So the question is… What’s next?

At first I thought trading him to a young team that needs blueline depth would be a good idea (Columbus Comes to mind) however I quickly thought “Wait a second. What happens when the Avs blueline corps gets injuries, which will happen? Only Cumisky has any hopes of really being able to contribute to the Avs roster this season.”

“Skratch” is set against the cap for $2.4M for this season and next season. The Avs need to figure out something to do with this guy. Trade him for a cheap youngster D-man? One who can sit on the bench and occasionally play for cheaper than Skrastins? Keep him this season and trade him in the offseason. The problem is, the more he sits the less valuable he becomes. Hold onto him for next season too? Send him to LE and hope he gets claimed off of waivers (Not sure if they can even do that on a one-way contract. If they could, I’m sure they would have done that to Theo by now).

I’m not really sure on a solution to this one, but it’s tough to see a solid professional, one who has always been classy and committed sit in street clothes when he could make a difference, even if it’s not with the Avs.


Oh and for anyone needing a smile, look at the last name on this roster while you can.. it'll be gone soon.