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"Quasi GM"
Moncton, NB • Canada • 37 Years Old • Male
The Avalanche looked absolutely terrible this year. Roy's probably laughing at the team, but he shouldn't; he helped make this disaster. Roy and Sakic were stuck between two dynamics: Roy wanted a bigger team that was hard to play against and Sakic... I don't know what Sakic wants to do. I don't think Sakic knows what Sakic wants to do.

I can look at the Avalanche like I surgically looked at the Oilers and pick apart each aspect of their game statistically, but when all facets of a team's game are down, it can only mean one thing: a complete morale failure.

Their organization top down is in trouble. This team has a weak identity and a weak culture right now, and there's no prettier way to say it unless you were poetically describing an eschatological text. Maybe in verses, this team would look like the Divine Comedy.

First level of hell: the San Antonio Rampage; second level of hell: the depth of the Avalanche; third level of hell: stars of the Avalanche... okay? It's this bad.

Colorado has a serious cultural and identity crisis right now, and when others are asking what they are doing in terms of Matt Duchene (because trades! Trades! Feed us with more trades! *evil laughter*), I'm asking what they're doing as an organization.

First off: I don't think Sakic should leave; I think Sakic needs another sidekick (or to be someone's sidekick), the same that Brad Pitt needed Jonah Hill in Moneyball (or Billy Bean needed the stats guy: you know what I mean). The one bright spot for the Avs under Sakic has been their first round drafting. MacKinnon was a hit, (Bleackley was a miss), Rantanen was a hit, and I feel that Jost and Makar are both going to be hits with this organization. Their later round drafting... too soon to tell I suppose, but it hasn't looked good so far.

What does Sakic want to do with this organization? How are going to win their games? By outskating the other team? Outsmarting them? Outworking them? Outplastering them against the boards? Does the coach even know what he's doing with this team or what his role is?

Sakic has made 19 trades since his tenure began. Most of them have been completely insignificant. Ryan O'Reilly was his most significant trade, and it had Patrick Roy's prints all over it; it was not very good. Grigorenko might not even be re-signed, Compher still has a chance to be a roster player, and Zadorov has a hard time making a case for himself to be an NHL defenseman (but at least he is big, so he's not hopeless). The draft pick hasn't turned into anything, yet.

Of course, it might not have been good because Colorado's further development of these players has been glacial hell, but even analyzing the trade at the time, you might have measured O'Reilly as a second line forward and a role player and a former 33rd overall pick, but they haven't yet gotten anybody that even remotely represents a 2nd line player or 2nd pairing d out of the deal. I agree with trading him because he wanted to be paid like a first line player, but I don't agree with the return. I'm not going to say it was TERRIBLE, but at this point, it was a lost trade... depending on what Compher eventually ends up doing in the NHL and whether Zadorov ever proves himself to be at least a #4 D.

His best trade was likely getting Andrighetto for Martinsen. That could turn into a steal in a couple of years. Andrighetto had a positive showing for the Avs at the end of the year.

When the Avalanche last succeeded, they were a speedy team. Then they let Paul Stastny go to free agency and lost him for nothing. They still have speedy players in Duchene and MacKinnon.

When the Avalanche were last a force to be reckoned with, they were outright talented and just outskilled the other guys. It's hard to use the Avs of 2001 as a model for success because their team was simply stacked. "Git good" is not a good strategy for GMs right now. The league is more competitive from a managerial standpoint than it ever was.

I could see Sakic going the way of Yzerman and using his model: draft good players, fill out your team through organizational depth. Yzerman likely has better people surrounding him, however, who have a grasp on how to put together a winning hockey team, even though he's taken a few risks that almost blew up in his face.

Sakic also wants to limit paying his players in a similar vein (though Yzerman's philosophy shifted with the Stamkos situation), which is likely why Stastny and O'Reilly left the organization in the first place. He wants to introduce a salary structure where the star players take a paycut so that he can get a more talented supporting cast. (It ultimately has to be the star player's choice, however).

Today's NHL may not facilitate that kind of a league environment.

Either way, Sakic needs a direction other than just sticking a bunch of talented guys together. Roy likely left the team because they overpaid Barrie and thought he was a first pairing defenseman when Roy knew full well this was never going to be the case. (At least that was the spark that blew the gasket). Other reported reasons are his dissatisfaction with Varlomov and not acquiring Radulov when given the chance (who would have been a good fit).

So Sakic is stuck in the rubble, and his coaching replacement hasn't been optimal, to say the least. Maybe he could start by picking up an experienced coach who can help guide the process along. With Tippett's availability, that might be a start. Sakic has given him his faith as far as I know, but this is another move that reeks of utter confusion.

So now the Matt Duchene situation:

It looks like the price is a top-four d, a blue chip prospect, and a pick.

I still want to know Sakic's direction for the team. And everyone knows that their expendable players are the following: Landeskog, Duchene, and Barrie.

Should he move Landeskog, Duchene, or Barrie? You might think: yes, tinker, but I don't know: If you have 75 points, you need to tinker, but fewer than 50 pts, you're in a film noir and talking to the audience about your existential crisis to some extremely sombre music.

Who'd I move the most? Barrie in a heartbeat, and then Duchene. I'd put out feelers for Landeskog, but I think I'd wait until the deadline.

Also note that people who say the deadline deals were better for Duchene: I don't believe this for a second. Deadline deals = first round pick (from a team likely drafting 21+), prospect, prospect, and an unwanted roster player. Draft day deals are likely almost always better (which is why more teams engage in them).

I have no idea, but I can mull on some possible offers that I heard:
- Islanders for Duchene and a roster guy: Pulock, Barzal, a 1st, Halak
: I'd take this if it was offered but I don't think it was offered. The fairer price would have been Pulock, Barzal, conditional 2nd. Would I take this? Still a yes.

- Nashville for Duchene: S. Girard, Fabbro, and picks that aren't 1sts.
: Wouldn't do this. Nashville needs to find a top 4 D from another team and vault some of these guys over to the Avs.

Colorado wants to get younger, but Sakic, if he's gotten these offers, has refused them because he wants NHL players who are younger. Teams don't want to move those guys because they'd be trading holes in their line-ups. Nashville isn't going to give them Ekholm because then they'd need another top 4 D.

So that leaves Carolina who can one-for-one Hanifin over to the Avs, but why do the Canes want Duchene? With Hanifin, they can get something a lot more to their liking.

I'm sure that Nashville will come up with something by Thursday. But last time I made a prediction involving Nashville, they made me look bad, so don't hold me to that.

Should the Avs stop there? No, they should trade Barrie. Sell right now, even if he's not worth as much as you think he is.

Given how much of a market there is for a top 4 D, and how the Avs are likely headed for another tank year, but at least a progress year, they should see what they can get for Barrie right now. This is a time for change. If Barrie has another year like he did last year, nobody will ever trade for him. If they can get a couple of 21 year old prospects without any NHL experience and a back-up goaltender, or fill out their d corps or what not with him? Do it. This, to me, is the more desperate move.
Filed Under:   Sakic   Bettman   NHL   Avalanche   Trade  
June 28, 2017 9:59 PM ET | Delete
Good honest assessment. Very fair to my Avs. Although I think Sakic has a direction he wants to take this team in now. Now let's see if he's learned enough to do that. And I do think Josh Kroenke and Sakic have been figuring out a way to bolster the front office some. Sakic was a little too green to take the GM position when he did, but I actually trust him more than anyone Since Lacroix to bring the right ideal to this team, but he needs some experienced people around him to help him learn and further hone his GM skills while on the job.
June 29, 2017 6:50 AM ET | Delete
Solid write up
June 29, 2017 1:27 PM ET | Delete
So you would be nice enough to take the Isles top 2 prospects and a 2. Yeah not happening. A first and a second, sure then DalColle Beauvlier, maybe even Sorokin, but no team is giving you their top d, and top f prospect for a player coming off his worst season ever.
June 30, 2017 12:21 AM ET | Delete
Matt Duchene for Michal Frolik and an 8th round pick.
June 30, 2017 2:22 PM ET | Delete
The Avalanche have arrived at this point for two reasons poor drafting and Sakic allowed Patrick Roy to have too much influence on the roster construction. Roy's thought process was old school. He wanted bigger, veteran players. He influenced several trades such as the acquisition of Brad Stuart and Eric Gelinas for futures. Both trades proved to be abysmal. Sakic has addressed both contributing issues for the Avalanche failures. Scouting Director Rick Pracey was let go after the 2014 Draft. The 2012 and 2014 drafts were complete disasters. The past three drafts since appear to have been more consistent in mining talent for Colorado, although more time is needed to evaluate fully. The second issue, Patrick Roy walked away from the team last year just four weeks before training camp. It was obvious that Roy's influence on roster construction had been mitigated. At this time last year, Colorado's roster was constructed of aging, plodding veterans, middling prospects and a few blue chip caliber players. A season like 2016-17 was inevitable as an incredibly thin Colorado organization began the shift towards younger, faster players. Sakic, while not devoid of blame certainly inherited an organization that was trending in the wrong direction. The O'Reilly trade is still too early to call. To say Zadorov is big and only big is a complete underestimation of his skill set. The O"Reilly trade from a Colorado perspective was for futures. This was the first step for Colorado in trying to get younger. Zadorov, Compher, A.J. Greer and Nicholas Meloche all have the chance to contribute on the NHL roster, they simply need time to develop. Before writing this trade off as an abject failure lets give it two more years before finally passing this off as a bad trade. The Barrie situation is interesting. His defensive liabilities are well documented. Colorado locked him up to retain this asset but certainly his value now to Colorado is as a trade chip. A more complete team may view Barrie's offense as a missing component to their Cup aspirations. If Sakic holds true to his objective, to get younger, than Barrie could return one or two valuable younger assets. Matt Duchene has been at the core of trade rumors since before the March 2017 trade deadline. The fact that Duchene is being shopped is merely a by product of his worth across the league. To say Sakic is jerking Duchene's chain is nonsense. In public, Sakic has consistently said he is listening to offers but he views Duchene as a great hockey player and person. The process of renovating the Colorado roster has started. Sakic is doing the appropriate thing and that is listening to offers for his players. Duchene has the potential to deliver three or four assets on the trade market. A trade of that magnitude would certainly strengthen the depth of the Colorado organization significantly. Realistically the Avalanche will not be competitive once again this season. Perhaps if Sakic altered his demand to a more prospect centric package he could fill more holes. Teams with depth in both the ELC and prospect level might be more willing to engage. A team like St Louis could construct a package of players from the likes of Barbashev, Vince Dunn, Jordan Kyrou, Jake Walman, Tage Thompson, Robert Thomas etc that could appeal to Sakic. One tool that Sakic has failed to leverage is cap space. In a trade scenario with St Louis, Sakic could opt to take on a contract such as Carl Gunnarsson to make the deal happen. What we do know is that regardless of the package, give Sakic credit for not being forced into a panic trade. There is still time to be patient. The tenure of Joe Sakic has two distinct era's. The first starting in May of 2013 and lasting for 2.5 years. That period of time was marked by Roy's influence on roster construction and a slow but eventual firing of scouting director Rick Pracey. The second era that we see today is characterized by improved drafting, embracing of advanced metrics and a commitment to a full roster rebuild. Sakic's inexperience certainly was a detriment as he was learning on the job. However, the team now has a clear cut direction but the reality is to get younger will take time. Stacking effective draft class after draft class is the first step. Flipping existing roster talent into multiple assets is step two. This second generation Joe Sakic seems to be on the right course. In addition to obtaining maximum value for Matt Duchene, Sakic's next challenge will be responding to all of the Jared Bednar critics. Bednar has won championships in both the ECHL and the AHL, he has a track record of success. I applaud Sakic for not replacing Bednard after last season. It is hard to implement a coaches system when that coach inherits a roster and coaching staff not conducive to that Head coach's style. However, if the Avalanche begin 2017-18 showing no compete level, lacking energy or a resemblance of a system then it will be time to move on from Bednard. Joe Sakic and the Avalanche are certainly in a tenuous situation. Poor trading poor drafting and or poor coaching could trip this franchise up and send it back to the drawing board. Yet, what we have seen in the past two years is a trajectory where the team values analytics and they recognize that the style of the NHL is evolving. I am encouraged by these trends and remain cautiously optimistic that the Avalanche will return to a competitive landscape by 2019-20.
June 30, 2017 2:51 PM ET | Delete
June 30, 2017 2:53 PM ET | Delete
June 30, 2017 2:53 PM ET | Delete
smellmyfinger, do you like my Duchene trade for Frolik and an 8th round pick?
June 30, 2017 7:10 PM ET | Delete
Depends on the draft class, is there a lot of value in the 8th round this year?
June 30, 2017 8:11 PM ET | Delete
yes, there is a good amount of value in this year's 8th round.
June 30, 2017 9:12 PM ET | Delete
In that case it's a great deal, especially since Frolik adds value.
June 30, 2017 9:33 PM ET | Delete
yes, i agree. I mean, the 8th round is pretty late but it adds a bit of value. Frolik is the main piece going back to Colorado, with the 8th round pick as an extra piece.
July 1, 2017 1:47 AM ET | Delete
It is refreshing to see Avs fans finally getting tired of the ignorant abuse coming our way. It seems we will have to come to our own defense since the uninformed hockey fan insists on making belligerent fools of themselves trashing a team and players that don't concern them. I don't like to use the term childish at all because we are all guilty of it from time to time, but when hockey all over the hockey so world insist on being so, I will call it.All this whining over the Avs, Sakic, and Duchene is mostly because they are taking up the headlines and everyone who isn't included in the rumors, or doesn't care about the subject of the rumors, throws a tantrum in the form of disgruntled backlash towards the rumored party. It happens every time a rumor comes out and lasts longer than a couple of weeks. It's like a kid who gets all excited for Christmas day then two weeks later is over his news toys and starts crying for new ones. Childish and irritating.
July 1, 2017 10:17 AM ET | Delete
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