I was watching the press conference that the Avalanche held with Sakic and Roy just last week. The answer to every question was laid out with either Core, structure or both. The structure talking about finance - No one gets paid more than Matt Duchene, although that was clearly never stated it was never denied on behalf of Joe Sakic when asked point blank is this what structure means.
Capgeek.com has the Avalanche sitting $23,003,571 under the cap for this season. With players left to sign like Stastny, O'Reilly, Barrie, Elliott, and a few other less significant pieces. Under this "Structure" They want O'Reilly to take between $3.5 and $5.5 million is what I am assuming. Since Sakic likes to point out that O'Reilly's agent only refers to the 2nd year and $6.5 million during negotiation. This means Joe is looking hard at the first half of that contract at $3.5 and pointing out that in the end it was still a $5million dollar cap hit, plus in arbitration he will probably get around $5.5. Being a business man, Ryan wants probably upwards of $5 million and more just to stay in Colorado - we are not even getting into term here which has not been discussed publically other than a possible 1-2 year via arbitration. Under this same structure, Colorado would love Stastny to stay but only if he will take a pay cut. To stay within this structure that would seem to be around, if not more than, $1 million dollars. Paul Stastny, a player in which was highly over paid for 4 of 5 season (the 5th being his semi-decent 2013-14 season) "wants to stay in Colorado." However, what happens when his home town St. Louis, Cup contending Blues offer him a multi-year, multi-million dollar contract that we would not?
How do the Avalanche "Keep structure" while keeping core if they are not willing to pay a little bit of money. Add $10 million to the budget for lets say... two years? That puts Colorado about $15 million under the cap. Now lets add a few free agents, you do not need big name forwards because you happen to keep O'Ry and Stas for $5 million a year filling those possible holes (not that this would happen.) We look to our holes - Defense - although the core had a pretty great season last year we still lack that #1 #2 mixture. Roy is seeking Puck mover with stay at home D. Barrie in my mind moves ahead of Johnson - this kid is going to be dynamic. He is also an RFA who had a breakout year, because he only played in 64 games I do not see him making huge money. Maybe a 3-5 year contract under $3 million. Still leaves us $12 million. We have Johnson and Barrie, but then what? Holden? Yeah ok, maybe Holden and Guenin as a sold 5/6 but who goes 3/4? No one really, Benoit and Hunwick I would not expect to resign. Wilson is so injury prone and most certainly not a Top 4 NHL defensemen - I say trade him for prospect or a pick. Hejda could play the 3/4 role perfectly now lets add Matt Niskanen? He has decent production from last season, his first real season since 2008-09 with Dallas - his plus/minus was fantastic and he is far from a 5+ million dollar a year player. Slot him for lets say three seasons at maybe $3.5 million dollars and there you have it. Your structure with out breaking the bank leaving room for another signing later on in the season and you are not so close to the cap you cannot move.
The reality of those players signing for that price may or may not happen. But if you want to keep your structure, you will lose the edges of your core. Having to rebuild missing pieces and hopping the next set can find chemistry. If a player wants to win bad enough and sees that it will happen, their wallet may not be so fat, but when they are all about money... They do not care what your structure is, if they can play anywhere and make $2 million dollars more regardless of winning, they will. All speculation but if I could hold a line up that has:
Landeskog - Stastny - Parenteau
O'Reilly - Duchene - McGinn
McLeod - MacKinnon - Talbot
Bordeleau - Hishon - Mitchell
Johnson - Barrie
Hejda - Niskanen
Elliott - Holden
Aittokallio - Pickard - Berra
I would be pretty content with that - Although I am not a fan of having 500 centers play wing... We really need to get more natural wingers. I really hope Berra learns how to play over the same - his horrible start to his career and we traded a 2nd round pick for him... Yeah, I really hope Francois Allaire has a plan for him, a big plan.
Time will tell what the Avalanche will do, but to keep your core you have to sometimes go a little tighter than you want with your own wallet. Roy refers to structure in 1985 but lets be real, the pay was far different and players back then would die to make what players are making these days. You want a cup back in Colorado you might have to sacrifice some money - every great cup winning team does that is why the big name players available look for you, they want to win and get paid.