After what was an extremely active week for the Avalanche in terms of signings the youth movement is officially on in Denver. Little more than a week ago things looked bleak for the team from The Mountains, (granted this rebuild will take time) but as we have learned never count out the Avalanche front office in terms of scouting and bussing players out of town.
-The Mullet Heads to The Beach
I must say it was a bit of a sad 4th of July at DNP HQ. Seeing Ryan Smyth pack up and head to Los Angeles was a bit difficult to take. Denver will miss his heart, work ethic, and most notably his mighty flowing pelt of glory. Take heed Avalanchos! Mullets with that kind of integrity don’t come around very often.
On the positive side, Pierre Lacroix and crew managed to land some upside aside from dumping the remaining years of Smitty’s 5 year, 31.25 million dollar contract.
At the ripe old age of 23, Kyle Quincey possesses size and awareness, especially from the point on the power play. In leading the Kings in defensive scoring last year (38 points in 72 games) Quincey showed promise. His minus-5 plus/minus requires improvement, but the hope here is that as Quincey steps into his mid-20’s he will round into a decent stopper. Failing that his price tag of $550,000 per year ain’t too shabby.
To say Tom Preissing is a bit of a toss-in on top of this deal is well, a bit of an understatement. Two years off of a career best plus-40 with Ottawa, Preissing struggled to play 22 games with the Kings last season. The mystery with Preissing is whether is if he can return to form as a defensive asset, or if his large numbers from two years ago were the product of a high-powered offense in Ottawa.
Just as playing behind a good defense can skew a goalie’s numbers, so can a defenseman have his numbers skewed by playing with a scoring offense. After being named a Hobey Baker finalist out of Colorado College in 2003, Preissing jumped out of the gate fast in San Jose, which eventually landed him a good contract in Ottawa, and consequently a good season. Then came the doldrums in Los Angeles. If he plays in Colorado, he should be counted on as a serviceable defenseman, but at age 30 he is looking at the downside of his prime, so don’t expect big numbers from Preissing this season, assuming he gets into the lineup.
It has bothered me in recent years whenever the Avalanche bring in a new goalie to “challenge” Peter Budaj for the starting goaltender position. Let’s face facts people, Peter Budaj is not a starting goalie. He never was. If he were he would not require motivation in the form of the Jose Theodore’s and Andrew Raycroft’s of the world.
This brings us to Craig Anderson. At $1.8 million Anderson brings with him upside in the form of a tasty .924 save percentage in 31 games as Tomas Vokoun’s backup in Florida. He isn’t necessarily a top-flight goalie, but he does bring with him a good work ethic and the ability to get hot and carry his team, as was evidenced in periods late last season when Vokoun was out with injuries.
Anderson’s numbers won’t be any better than they were in Florida (2.71 GAA), as he’ll man the pipes behind a spotty defense once again. Still, the Avalanche now have a goalie who can make some stops, and with his rather trim salary leaves room for a potential Jonas Gustavsson signing, who for all intents and purposes is still available despite indications he may be heading in the direction of Dallas.
-Alex Tanguay Part Deux-Do we really need this rumor?
Of all the teams trying to make a dent this free agency Montreal has to be on the top of the list. In landing the likes of Mike Cammaleri, Brian Gionta and Scott Gomez the Habs are once again pushing for the Stanley Cup before the people of Hab-land grow even more impatient and start burning cars.
With the addition of Gomez (and his disgustingly large contract considering how he’s worth maybe 65 points in a good year) as the second line center behind Thomas Plekanec, it appears Tanguay is getting bumped from the top two lines. Furthermore,the additions on Gionta and Cammaleri complicate matters.
So let’s look at what we do know:
1. Tanguay is capable of playing both left wing and center.
2. The Avalanche, who have an overabundance of centermen (Sakic-assuming he returns-, Stastny, Duschene, Hensick, Stoa) are thin at left wing (Wolski, McCloud, Gagliardi).
3. Say, maybe the Avalanche could use Alex Tanguay! Go Avs!
(I love hockey rumors)
Could Tanguay return to the Avs? Certainly.
Will Tanguay return to the Avs? I doubt it.
Even with the departure of Ryan Smyth the Avalanche are still looking to recover money. And the real question here is if the Avalanche are looking at bringing in Tanguay do they want to take the chance of trading away future talent to sign on a less than a point-per-game player for good money?
If yes, then they will have less room to rebuild.
If no, then more power to them.