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Victoria, BC • Canada • 31 Years Old • Male
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!
Filed Under:   Avs   Willsie   McLeod   UFA  
July 15, 2008 11:58 PM ET | Delete
I just don't see the Avs as being good at all this year. Granato has a real bad reputation already with the refs in the league. Add a bunch of gritty type guys, I see the Avs being in the penalty box all of the time. It bites that the Avs don't have the guys that where 'smart gritty' like they used to have. Good blog though.
July 16, 2008 12:09 AM ET | Delete
agreed sissipher, that the avs certainly aren't what they were...i think they're looking for a new identity...i just hope these guys turn out to be "smart" as you said.
July 16, 2008 12:28 AM ET | Delete
Thanks for posting. It's good to see something Avs related on this site! I'd missed the Willsie signing as it wasn't in the Post. I think that FG has a plan, I'm just not quite sure what it is right now. Keep posting!
July 16, 2008 11:54 AM ET | Delete
I agree with the other two posters. Realistically, if the Avs want a youth movement, we are all going to be waiting a LONG time before they Avs are competitive. Other than Stastny, none of the other young players are bona fide top six forwards. Wolski - maybe, but doubtful. Likewise with Hensick, Jones, and Svatos. It looks to me that the Avs have about 15 3rd and 4th line players. With or without Joe, I think it's going to be a long, boring season. Boring because with all the grit and the Avs' above average defense, they are going to either play tight defensively every night or lose a whole lot. I hope I'm mistaken.
July 16, 2008 5:21 PM ET | Delete
nice read! the only thing is i am pretty sure that ledin has a one way contract, so is going to be up with the avs the entire year. also i went to the avs development camp and some of the prospects are looking great! jones was flat out awesome! hopefully he can have a solid camp and make the team. stewart was also looking very very good. other standouts were williams, shattenkirk, mercier, hellgren, hensick and tessier. the avs may not be great next year, but at least they have some capable youth that can we can look forward too!
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