First a little disclaimer: this blog won't be entirely different from my last as it concerns the addition of grit to the Avalanche in the upcoming season...thought you'd like to know now instead of later.
So, in the past few days, the Avs have resigned the "Cody Macs", that is Cody McLeod and Cody McCormick and now have added former Avs player Brian Willsie from the LA Kings. Willsie, formerly drafted by the Avs back in 1996, spent time in Colorado, Washington and LA before inking this new, one-year deal. I don't think the terms were released yet, however with all of these signings the Avs should be sitting somewhere between $40M and $44M (keep in mind that most of the players signed will be bouncing between Col and Lake Erie).
Willsie adds even more grit and leadership-potential to the Avs current roster. If he stays with the Avs all season, there will most likely be a bit of a log-jam for 3rd and 4th liners (though I think some of these guys could play on 1st or 2nd lines too):
Tucker, Lapperiere, McLeod, McCormick, Ledin, Willsie, Parker, and Guite. And these are the grinders...we also have TJ Hensick, David Jones and Chris Stewart (the Avs 1st pick in 2007) under contract this season.
Here's what I think will happen:
Tucker and Lappy will, of course, play the full season in the bigs, along with McLeod and Guite. I think the rest of the grinders (McCormick, Ledin, Willsie, and Parker) will all find themselves bouncing between Col and LEM, adding leadership and determination to a talented young group of players down on the farm-team.
I would love to see Darcy play on on of the first two lines to add some more fireworks...In terms of Ledin, I REALLY want to see what he brings to the table. Judging by YouTube videos I've seen, this guy might be exactly what this team needs to move forward: a guy that drives hard to the net, has GOOD hands, and won't back down from anyone.
It's going to be a challenge for Granato and his staff to find the right combination of players on each line this year, that's for sure. One other thing that's certain: there are rumblings of a youth movement in Colorado; a wave of young, uber-talented players just waiting to get their shot. It's exciting to see signs of life returning to this team!!
As always: go avs go!