22 February 2011
5. Two things others say about the Avalanche: they are targeting a young goalie and they will trade John-Michael Liles. It's believed they like Jonathan Bernier and Cory Schneider, although I can't imagine the Canucks doing that. I had also heard Steve Mason, but that appears to be incorrect. As for Liles, every year, he must submit a list of 12 teams he will agree to be traded to. His best friend in the NHL is Ryan Miller and it sounds like Buffalo is interested. By now, you've heard Toronto is, too. It is believed both Buffalo and Toronto are on his list.
Let me take you all the way back 2 years ago, to the season that hell wrought, and look at a little blog post I wrote up, which happens to contain a little information on a Buffalo prospect, named Jhonas Enroth. He's Buffalo's top prospect, and onf of the top goalie prospects in hockey. Not as good as Bernier, but a very good goalie prospect nonetheless.
Low and behold, the Avs are in desperate need of a goaltending prospect that's ready to go in the NHL, and the Sabres are in need of a proven puck-moving defenseman. It's a match made in heaven.
Ok, not quite heaven, as there would have to be more to this deal than just a straight-up Liles-Enroth swap. First, Buffalo is likely to want a little more than just Liles for a top prospect like Enroth. And the Avs would have to someone with some salary in order to get the Avs up to the cap floor (and stuff like that still kills me to type). (Tim Connelly would work. So would former Av, Jordan Leopold)
This isn't advocating the trading of JM-Liles, but it sounds like this year, it's inevitable. One of the teams that wants him has a good goalie prospect, and it would be putting Liles in a situation where he would could thrive. I'm not sure Buffalo's take on this (After Miller and Enroth, their goalie pipeline is mighty thin), but if I'm Sherman, I'm trying to work this deal pretty hard.