The 2014 draft had Colorado walk home with 7 new prospects. I can honestly say I was shocked when the Avalanche did not talk Brendan Lemieux when he was available at #23, a natural wing, in which Colorado depth wise is in need of. He grew up around the Avalanche, was born in Denver Colorado his favorite player is Ryan O'Reilly. Instead Colorado takes CONNER BLEACKLEY a player that by central scouting was ranked #35 at final, mind you he was ranked lower than Colorado's second 3rd round pick NICHOLAS MAGYAR who was ranked at #31.
Conner is a natural Centre with decent size that plays the two-way game. Being named a 17 year old Captain in Red Deer speaks highly to his future leadership in the NHL and with the Colorado Avalanche. This pick-up has signs all over it that Bleackley will be replacing Ryan O'Reilly in the near 1-2 year future.
A lot of wind around Philly the past few days has Paul Stastny either stay with the Avalanhce or moving to the St. Louis blues. Rather than St. Louis clearing a little space they take a player in a trade with Toronto in Carl Gunnarsson that makes slightly more than Polak, which does not mean they are not going for Paul still as they have near if not more than $15 million to play with.
As of today, players Colorado had interests in at the start of the month do not seem to be falling in their favor along with their own pieces. Free Agent Frenzy eve and the options of higher end bigger name plays seem to be headed in directions of the Penguins, Blackhawks, Blues, Toronto and even Tampa Bay.
It feels like a never ending cycle in Denver, other than top names like, MacKinnion, Duchene and Landeskog since 2009 the Avalanche drafts have been in my opinion no higher than a C. Denver's free agent pick ups since 2009 about the same. 2014 off-season is seemingly no different. Were the drafts good? Other than the goalie this year they were decent but a little off the charts, steal in round 4 with NICHOLAS MAGYAR and 7 with JULIEN NANTEL absolutely.
In order to become a contender the Avalanche will need to make a move or pay some players what they are worth, Duchene is a modest guy he took a small contract with small money a few seasons back because he did not feel he was worth higher end money that he wanted to EARN it. He did, he stepped up his game and was rewarded a $6 million a year contract. Which in the end, taking a lower end hurt him as he could possibly be making $7-7.5 a year, which in turn causes the "structure" to stay lower for Colorado. With a chance to lose players like Stastny, a former runner up to the Calder who never lived up to his $6.6 million a year contract until 2013-14 season. O'Reilly a now Lady Byng winner, amazing two-way player who shows his leadership on the ice shift after shift.
With a subpar draft and so far a disappointing approach to the nhl free agent frenzy the once, "Can they be the shockers and take it?" team from the mid point of the 2013-14 season are trying to take the "it takes time" motto to a new level. The team got a taste of winning last season and rather than doing everything possible to keep it together and building on it, to most fans it feels like money is all that matters in the end, if you don't want less go away and we will get there when we get there.
With the pending Buy out of Christian Ehrhoff "Which capgeek.com has as done." He would be a wise approach for the Avalanche along with other players such as Brooks Orpik or andrej meszaros, since a player like Matt Niskanen will more than likely, "Break Colorado's structure."
The way I see it though, take care of what you have first, if it works done mess with it unless youre adding to it. Losing Paul and/or Ryan would blow the Avalanche easily, and possibly putting them back into a Top 15 first round pick.
Free Agent Frenzy begins tomorrow - Who do you want to see the Avs keep or obtain?
Your odds that Colorado lands Niskanen or any other "highend" player?