06 April 2012
This morning the talk around the Avs is "What happened?"
Well I think what happened is that the Avs weren't one of the best 8 teams in the conference this season. But despite that, this is the first season in years (maybe even since the lockout) where I really feel like the Avs are on their way to becoming one of the better teams. Now The Miser of Denver could undo that feeling by not allowing his staff to go after any free agents this summer, but for now I finally feel like the Avs have a real plan going forward and they are executing that plan.
So I'm bummed they won't make the playoffs, but I see it, at least a little, as a blessing in disguise. I think the Avs have traditionally been a team that overrates their own prospects just a touch. Maybe this 9-10th place finish will help them realize that they could use some free agent help and that a true rebuild can't fill every hole. Every cup contender this seaosn has had to dip into the free agent well (or trade away prospects for some help)
The nice part is, this is a team that has shown tremendous improvement over three years. When they made the playoffs three seasons ago, there were a lot of indicators that season was a fluke. The emergence of advanced stats in hockey had the 09-10 Avs as a weak team who were getting a fair bit of luck, but fans didn't want to hear that. I don't want to re-hash that argument again, but I think deep down most avs fans knew deep down that getting outshot 2:1 every night wasn't a recipe for long term success. Since then the Avs metrics have improved, mainly because the avs have been a smarter team. They drafted well (Eliott, Landeskog) come to mind, and they have made some savvy free agent moves and trades (Hejda, Johnson + McClement) to improve the team.
So I'm not depressed about the Avs season. It was a success. It finally feels like the avs have been reborn, and this season was year one of something special.