The 2010-11 offseason will be a interesting one for the Colorado Avalanche. General manager Greg Sherman will need to make one of two choices. He can stick with the core youth that produced season beyond expectations or he has the ability because of significant cap space to acquire several top notch players to bolster the squad. Both choices come with the possibility of disaster with the youth players possibly taking a step back next yearwithout added help, while adding the wrong star element could stunt the development growth of the likes of Matt Duchene and Chris Stewart.
To put the entire situation in perspective here’s the Avalanche’s current situation heading into the offseason.
Signed players for 2010-11 season
Forwards: Paul Stastny, Matt Duchene, Milan Hejduk,Cody McLeod, Ryan O’Reilly, T.J Galiardi, Ryan Stoa, David Jones
Defense: Scott Hannan, John Michael-Liles, Kyle Cumiskey, Ryan Wilson
Goaltending: Craig Anderson
13 players with a cap hit of 28,959,999
F Peter Mueller $1.7 million this year……..Prediction: $2.2 next year
F Kevin Porter $1 million this year…………Prediction: $1 million next year
F Chris Stewart $800,000 this year…………Prediction: $3 million next year
F T.J Hensick $800,000 this year………….Prediction: $800,000 next year
F Cody Burki $800,000 this year…………..Prediction: $800,000 next year
D Wes O’Neill $800,000 this year…………..Prediction: $800,000 next year
F Brandon Yip $800,000 this year…………. Prediction: $1 million next year
D Raymond Macias $600,000 this year….. Prediction: $600,000 next year
D Kyle Quincey $500,000 this year…………Prediction: $2.5 million next year
D Derek Peltier $500,000 this year…………Prediction: $500,00 next year
In all likelihood, the likes of Burki. Macias, Peltier and O’Neill will start the season in the minors. Adding the likes of Quincey, Mueller, Stewart, Hensick, Yip and Porter will give the Avalanche nineteen players on the roster at a projected total of 39,459,999. With a projected cap at $56.8 million this gives the Avs plenty of flexibility.
D Brett Clark
D Ruslan Salei
D Adam Foote
F Darcy Tucker
F Marek Svatos
G Peter Budaj
F Brian Willsie
F David Koci
F Phillipe Dupuis
F Stephane Yelle
F Darren Haydar
D Brian Fahey
F Matt Hendricks
D Brett Skinner
G John Grahame
F Chris Durno
G Tyler Weiman
F Marty Sertich
Analysis: Adam Foote and tough guy David Koci are the most likely to be retained by the club unless unforeseen salary demands are made by the pair. Foote will not command the three million he earned last year and if he decides to play another season a salary of 1.5 million to 2 million dollars a year. Koci on the other hand will likely not demand anything more than the $600,000 he earned last year. As for the rest of the crop, Marek Svatos was a huge disappointment this year and is unlikely to be re-signed. Darcy Tucker’s declining skill set along should see him cast off as well and the combined six and a half million spent on Brett Clark and Ruslan Salei could be better used elsewhere. Goaltender Peter Budaj may also be let go and replaced with a more veteran backup for Craig Anderson.
Possible UFA targets:
Defenseman Paul Martin: Martin went through a injury plagued year but the American is a solid defenseman at both ends of the ice and should Foote not return would provide a stabilizing influence on the blueline.
Predicted asking price: 4.5 million
Forward Raffi Torres: The gritty winger would be an upgrade on the likes of Darcy Tucker and is still reasonably young and could add to the existing young core. He was less than stellar in his stay with Buffalo but is still a valuable player to have on the roster
Predicted asking price: 2.5 million
Forward Adam Mair: Mair would be a great fit on the Avs bottom two lines and provides a cheap veteran presence on the bench. Buffalo is unlikely to let him go
Predicted asking price :1 million
Other possible targets: Matt Cooke, Zbynek Michalek, Michael Leighton, Antero Niittymaki
The Avalanche are unlikely to go after the likes of Ilya Kovalchuk, Patrick Marleau and Anton Volchenkov and will likely be looking to tweak the roster rather than make wholesale changes. The draft and free agency should allow the Avalanche to improve and become a more legitimate threat in the Western Conference next season.
About the Author
Written by Igor Henriques
A sports enthusiast with a passion for hockey,soccer,basketball,football, and baseball