14 April 2009
This post brought to you by: Jibblescribbits
After profiling The bad (Arnason) and the Ugly (Lappy and his schnoz... I mean that it the best possible way) it's time to take a look at another free agent who may have played his last game in an Avalanche Unipron... #28 Ben Guite.
Ben Guite has played all but one game of his 169 game career with the Colorado Avalanche. (It's true, he made his NHL debut with the Boston Bruins). In that time the former 7th-round Montreal Canadiens draft pick has carved out a nice niche as a checking line center, good forechecker and solid penalty killer.
In fact Ben Guite is probably the Avs best penalty killing forward. He is the Avs second best face-off guy (51.5% compared to Stastny's 51.8%, and Tyler Arnason's 46.0%), which is important for a guy who's role on the team is to keep the other team from scoring goals. On the Avs he's probably better than any forward at getting his stick in passing lanes and breaking up passes, which is why he's become a decent penalty killer.
In my opinion he plays the same role on the team as Stephan Yelle used to for the cup-winning teams. He's not as good as Yelle was, but he's a pretty solid guy for that role (how Yelle has never been considered for the Selke is frankly preposterous). Towards the end of the season the most consistent line the Avs had was a McLeod-Guite-Laperriere line that was nearly devastating on the forecheck. A true grind line that could add in the occasional goal.
With $43.7M committed to 13 players next season, and the Avs needing to bring in a goalie who costs a lot, the Avs are going to need to fill out their roster with cheaper guys. some observers think the Avs will call up a lot of younger guys to help fill that role. But Ben Guite should not be sacrificed. He's due for a raise (his league minimum $475k this season would be below the $500k league minimum next season) but he can still be given a substantial raise and cost less than some of the Avs less experienced players. TJ Galiardi will make $875k if he sticks next season. Per LEdin and Brian Wilsie made $600k this season.
Ben Guite fills a solid role on this team, and comes will come at a bargain. Even if the Avs offer him $750k they would still be paying him less than they paid Daniel Tjarnqvist and TJ Hensick this season. I think he should, and will, be signed for $650k, and the Avs would be foolish for not trying to bring back their best checking center since Stephan Yelle.
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