30 June 2011
In 07 The Avs followed my advice and the Avs made the playoffs. In '08, they didn't and the Avs finished with the 3rd worst record in the league. In '09, Avs followed my advice again: & Playoffs. Last season, Sherm thought he was too good for me, and he didn't follow my advice. Then the Avs finish with the second worst record. So, I think maybe he's finally learned his lesson.
So let'slay it out here (As I kind of did in this post here), but here's a re-cap. With the signing of Jones ($2.5M) and O'Byrne ($1.8M) the Avs now have a cap hit of $33.8M and have to spend at least $15.5M in order to get to the salary floor. Assume Landeskog makes the roster ($3.6M) and the rest of the RFAs receive fair offers (Cumiskey- $750k, Wilson - $1M, Porter - $750k, Galiardi - $1.5M) that brings the Avs Cap hit to 41.4, we'll add Elliott ($843k) and the Avs have to spend ~$6.1M to reach just the floor. And the way they dry humped it last season, we'll go ahead and assume they won't go over it too much.
The Avs also have the following under contract:
Landeskog - Stastny - Jones
Mueller - Duchene - Hejduk
McClemet - O'Reilly - Winnik
Lindstrom - Galiardi - McLeod
Johnson - Quincey
O'Byrne - Wilson
Guance - Elliott
This leaves the Avs with $6.1M cap room, 3 roster spots, and in need of 2 goalies. So we'll start with them:
Thomas Vokoun is the best goalie out there, and the Avs have the money to spend for him. Frankly, I have no idea how the Avs will get to the floor without signing Vokoun. No other two goalies on the market are worth a combined $6.1M. Hell I don't think there's many goalies worth even $4M, let alone two worth more than $3M apiece. So the Avs pretty much have to go after Vokoun.
Which isn't the worst thing in the world. In fact, I showed how a Vokoun/Elliott tandem would improve the Avs GA by ~58 goals (~9.5 wins). So the Avs are going to sign Vokoun right....
Well not so fast. With the O'Byrne signing the Avs are now ahead of Phoenix in the limbo to the cap floor (how low can you go?), but they still have to pay Yandle. Still, there's nothing that says they have to spend to the floor either, and may be worthwhile contenders for Vokoun too. Oh, and Vokoun is 34 and reportedly looking to go to a cup contender (which Phoenix is closer to than the Avs). Some other teams that need a goalie are Edmonton (not likely with Khabibulin), Florida (nope), and the Islanders (maybe). Some dark horses I see are Columbus obviously making a move for the playoffs, and Anaheim, if Hiller isn't fully recovered. (Anaheim could put Hiller on LTIR if necessary and get cap relief.) Making it even more difficult is that the Avs have been downright phobic about offering contracts longer than 2 years. Remember, we had a pretty good goalie who we went through a contract dispute with over basically an extra 2 years on the contract.
Still, with Tampa signing Roloson, the Avs have to be the team with the inside track. And what should give fans hope is they have to spend the money to.
Sign Vokoun: 4-years, $4.5M-$5M/season
So who should back him up (if they get him). I have always liked Josh Harding. I know he's coming off major knee surgery, but his stats before the surgery were very good. He's probably looking to be a starter, so signing with the Avs may not be high on his list if they sign Vokoun. In fact, he'll probably be the high-risk high-reward consolation prize for a few teams looking for Vokoun. It's kind of a strange one, but if the Avs can get Vokoun, I don't think they'll get Harding. If they can't they will.
So Sign Harding 2-years $2.5M/season (if we can't get Vokoun)
but, if you can't, I like Ray Emery. It would have been really easy to write him off. The guy survived the KHL, and the injury that took out Bo Jackso. BO fricking Jackson man. Although the sample size is quite small, he had two very good seasons both of the last two seasons (again, big Caveat: small samples size. I doubt his ES save percentage will continue to be the best in the league with a full slate of games).
If the Avs are looking for a slight discount that has the potential to hit a home run... Emery's the best shot. What's the downside? Well there's the rumors of bad attitude (guess what. Every player who doesn't work out in a city has a bad attitude rumor: See Anderson, Craig. Stewart, Chris. Shattenkirk, Kevin (Oh, I heard the rumor, just not as loudly), Emery, Ray, Johnson, Erik (oh yeah, in St. Louis this rumor's out there), Every Russian ever, etc.. etc... etc.
the guy paid his dues, even if the Avs can't sign Vokoun, Emery is the best chance at a home run.
Sign Emery 2-years $1.85M/season
Other potential goalies: JS Giguere, Conklin, Garon, Turco (caveat: I like Turco even though he hasn't been very good lately)
Dear God no: Drouin Deslauries, Budaj,
So are the Avs going to sign anyone else? If they lose on on Vokoun, will they have to? and if so, who?
Here's the Avs LW situation right now:
- an 18-year old rookie
- a 23-year old with concussion problems, and a 207 game sample size of mediocrity followed by a 15 game sample size of awesomeness who hasn't played a game since 2009-10
- a 3rd line winger who is coming off an injury riddled season
- a player in the Swedish Elite League.
So, yeah. I'm still not so confident in the Avs left wing situation. It's very, very weak. So who's out there?
So there's not a single player who doesn't have major question marks. There's the injury risks (Gagne, Sullivan, Drury, Dumont), The enigma risks (Cole, Samsonov) or the old risk (Brunette, Stillman, Prospal, Handzus). But I think there are forwards there that can help. Gagne might be worth the risk (although after signing a goalie, I don't see the Avs using much money for him).
But how about a really good defensive winger that can play on the PK, and top-6 lines, chip in points, and never be a liability on the ice. Check out Antti Miettinen. On a truly awful Wild team (seriously, they probably needed the #2 pick more than us. They were really, really bad): He faced the toughest competition, and had the third best Corsi on the team (he also had the best Ozone rating too, so there's some caveat there). He's good for 35-45 points every year (probably 40+ with decent teammates) and if not he's drawing the best competition. He isn't the scoring touch the Avs need, but he's a good top-6 LW who can really help this team. And if we have to scratch Yip, Lindstrom or McLeod to get him in the lineup, that's ok.
For the love of all that is holy I will burst a vein and get 15-25 years (time off for good behavior): Chris Osgood
Sign Antti Miettinen 3 years $3M/season
Other potentials: Gagne, Handzus, Cole, Prospal
Um.. no thanks: Drury, Nylander, Kovalev
The Avs also have a hole on defense. I think they need another good one. Personally, I like Ian White and James Wisniewski. I don't think the Avs will sign someone, but I think they should, and live a little. Spend above the Cap.
Sign Ian White- 2 years $4M / season
Other potentials: Wisniewski (unless he signs with CBJ), Hejda, Hannan (no seriously)
Uhhh...no: Salei, Staios, Kaberle
So with my signings the Avs would look like:
1 - Landeskog - Duchene - Hejduk
2 - Miettinen - Stastny - Jones
3a - Mueller - O'Reilly - Winnik
3b - McClemet - Galiardi - McLeod
Johnson - Quincey
O'Byrne - White
Wilson - Elliott
That, my friends, is a strong team. Not a cup contender, but a strong team. And if the signings come in for what I've put down the Avs cap hit would be a reasonable $56.09M, which would have been exactly in the middle of the pack for last season, and the cap has gone up this season. In fact, they'd still be over $10M under the cap.
Of course, I don't think the Avs will do that, under "the guise of building from within", but I think the Vokoun and Emery moves will happen.
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