With 7 games left in the season, the Avs sit dead last in the Western Conference, coming in second only to the Islanders as the worst team in the league. Most years this would be disappointing, however,with the team lacking any true direction, this situation forces their hand slightly.
The consensus first overall pick is John Tavares, with Viktor Hedman coming in a close second, both players having the capabilities to serve as cornerstones of a franchise. The Avs should hope to land Tavares, and realizing the team does have Stastny and Wolski established in the center position, Tavares will be leaps and bounds better. The Avs have lacked that one player who can take it upon themselves to go score goals when needed, since the days of a healthier Peter Forsberg, and as much as Stastny and Wolski have shown glimpses of being those kind of players, we already know Tavares is one of those guys. Thus its a race for last in the league, if only to increase the odds of winning the draft lottery, as well as to ensure the team does not slip out of the top 2.
Hedman may actually be a better fit on the team. His towering frame and heavy shot are sure to solidify both special team aspects of the Avs. Its also to their benefit that he is a smooth skater and looks to be one of the best potential draftee the Avs have had in a number of years at that position.
I'm sure the thought of the Avs tanking has come up, but any Avs fan will tell you that having Budaj and Raycroft between the pipes any given day will inevitably lead to your team being in the bottom 5 of the NHL. Which leads me to the point I've been echoing all season: We Need A Goalie. Now clearly we wont be trading our #1 pick to fill that void, however assuming we do luck out and get Tavares, it will allow the next GM (im hoping Giguere gets canned), to look into actually making a move. A few forwards could become expendable if a team is looking to swap a netminder for a forward. Kari Lehthonen and Dan Ellis both had fairy poor campaigns and may be available at a discounted price (both teams having other goalies to rely on). Scott Clemmensson is another intriguing name out there. If you don't recognize that name, he's the guy that kept Martin Brodeurs crease warm while he was away, nailing down 25 wins with 2 shutouts, and a respectable .917SV% with a 2.39 G.A.A. A career backup who may be a bargain in the UFA market this summer, possibly biding the Avs some time until things open up.