With Brendan Morrison and Sergei Federov off the market now it basically closes the book on the Avs off-season. There will likely be no more free agents out there coming to the Avs. Our lineup will be (assuming Sakic comes back):

Line 1a: Smyth- Stastny- Hejduk
Line 1b: Jones- Sakic- Tucker
Line 3: Wolski- Arnason/Hensik- Svats Machine
CHK: Lappy Guite Ledin/CodyMc

Which I guess is ok. If you look at it our top line for almost a year last season (Wolski-Arny-Svats) is our 3rd line so this team should still have formidable scoring chances (even though that line would be so much more dangerous with Brendan Morrison in the middle, grrr). It's not as dire as I originally thought. This lineup could still very well still make the playoffs and do some damage. (Especially since it's my opinion that every team in the NW got worse, save maybe Edmonton).

If Sakic doesn't return the lineup looks like:

Line 1a: Smyth- Stastny- Hejduk
Line 1b: Jones- Wolski- Tucker
Line 3: Hensik- Arnason Svats Machine
CHK: Lappy Guite Ledin/CodyMc

Which isn't bad either. The Avs could see someone like Chris Stewert or Cody Burki make the roster and contribute as well, even though both of them are probably pegged for another season in the minors.

What I don't like is that the Avs seem to be settling. Since the lockout the Avs have finished 6th, 9th and 6th in the conference winning 2 first round series. That was okay because we were paying for sins of the non-salary cap era. Now those contracts are all wiped out, or nearly wiped out. Francois Giguere has been the Ying to Pierre LaCroix's previous Yang. Every move he has made has been ultra-conservative; from the contracts (Hannan and Smyth were still relatively modest contracts for top-name FA's) to the trades. Even the big trade-deadline pickups, Foote and Salei, were modest or safe. I have no problem with a safe GM who prefers not to get himself into salary cap trouble, but at some point you have to take a risk to win the cup. Always playing it safe keeps you toiling in mediocrity.

I don't think anyone who follows the Avs is very optimistic. It all boils down to: The Avs were decimated by the Stanley Cup champs in the playoffs. Since then they have lost Brunette, Finger, Theo, Sauer and Forsberg (and possibly Sakic) and have added Tucker, Raycroft, Ledin and sort of Svats and Clark (remember they didn't play in the Wings series). They also have spent just enough to get above the salary floor.

That is just leaving a very bad taste in my mouth when they could have had Morrison or Peca for a year on the cheap.