09 February 2010
(Game Recaps: Avs: Anyone but Detroit, Mile High Hockey, Mile High Mayhem. Blues: St. Louis Today (who gives "Colin" Stewart a little credit, Blue Note Zone )
Last night the Avs took on the St. Louis Blues, and frankly it was a rather unspectacular affair. The Avs still got an important win, but the game just lacked a ton of energy from the fans down to the players on the ice. At least in my opinion. With Ryan O'Reilly out TJ Galiardi moved over to 3rd line center (Stastny double-shifted the 2nd and 4th lines pretty much all evening) the Avs hole at top-2 LW became painfully obvious.The Avs LWs last night were:
Granted Galiardi will move back to LW once some of those RWs and centers get healthy, but the injury to O'Reilly has really highlighted how vulnerable the Avs are on the left side. If there's an injury to any Avs LWer or top-3 center the Avs left side becomes exposed, as Galiardi moves over.
More after the jump
This isn't to take anything away from Galiardi, who has done an admirable job being the utility man for the Avs, filling in at LW, C, PK and pretty much everywhere he's needed. Hell if Galiardi were a baseball player writers would fall all over themselves calling him "gritty" completely ignoring that he's actually talented. But I think his role this season is best suited as being O'Reilly's wing man on a duel-threat third line.
But the Avs need more scoring depth on the left side for the stretch run and playoffs (if the Avs qualify, don't want to jinx it here.) I don't think the Avs need to break the bank and go for a blockbuster, like Ray Whitney, here but they need someone who can step in and pitch in offensively and gel with Duchene. I'm going to do some research and go over candidates later in the week, but off the top of my head I think Raffi Torres would be a good choice.
With the abundance of RWs the Avs have (Stewart, Yip, Svatos, Hejduk, Jones, Durno/Mercier) it's tempting to think one of them can fill in at LW for the rest of the season. And it's possible this could happen once everyone comes back healthy (My guess would be Yip moving over if this were to happen). But in all reality I think the avs would be better served by getting a true LW.
So who would be odd-man (men) out? Let's assume everyone but Jones comes back healthy after the Olympics (and I don't think that's the most unreasonable assumption), and the Avs do trade for a LW (prospects and a defenseman or something).
Left side: Wolski, LWer, Galiardi, McLeod, Tucker, Durno
Tucker & Durno would be the odd men out here. That's not really a bad thing. Tucker would likely still get shifts because the idea that every forward would stay healthy is a pipe dream, but he'd also see the occasional healthy scratch. I've said my piece on Tucker and I'll leave it at that. My anger with him has greatly subsided, mainly because coach Sacco has put him in a 4th line role and he's getting 10min a night. He's not being forced onto the 2nd line and stunting guys like Duchene anymore, which is all I really ever wanted.
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