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There’s a lot of consternation in the Rockies here about what exactly caused the Avs problems this season. A lot of focus is, rightly, on injuries, but most fans recognize that injuries may have driven the season to the depths that it reached, but even healthy this team wasn’t really ready to compete for a playoff spot.

And there’s been a lot of focus on why? Who’s to blame?

My hypothesis: the Avs just don’t have the talent that fans and management (especially management) thinks they have. So I’m starting this three part series where I examine the Avs different positions and try and find exactly, how much the Avs are suffering.

The Avs don’t have enough talent to compete for the cup. this isn’t “This is a young team that will develop into a cup contender”. Even if every player the Avs currently have were playing at their peak, they wouldn’t have the talent necessary.



Sure, this season’s failures were partial to injury, but had injuries not occurred does anyone think the Avs would be in these final 8, er, seven teams? A more likely scenario is that the Avs would have followed the path of the Stars or Wild, been close late and flamed out.

Why do I say this? Because I looked the rosters of the final eight teams up and down (assuming they are 8 of the best 12 or so teams in the league. With 3 division winners and 2 five seeds, I think it’s a safe assumption) and compared the Avs roster to those rosters. Today is part 1 of a 3 part series which I examine where avs players would fit on the different final eight playoff teams.

I know there will be some disagreement on where some of the players would go, but if there is please tell me who in the lineup they would replace for a certain team. Maybe you think Fleischman would play on the 2nd line for more teams, then who would drop to the 3rd?

The most startling thing about these other teams is that almost every team has at least 2 elite players in their top 6. Ovechkin-Semin-Backstrom (2 of which sucked this playoffs), Zetterberg-Datsyuk, Thornton-Marleau-Heatly, Sedins, St Louis-Lecavalier- Stamkos, Richards-Carter  The only two teams that don’t have that eliter top liners happen to have some pretty good players elsewhere (we’ll get to that later this week)

Not only do those teams have elite talent, but you could make a case that the Avs have Duchene-Stastny and Hejduk, no slouches.  But I think those three are probably just slightly below those guys.

Where the talent discrepancy really shines through is the secondary scoring lines: Setoguchi, Clowe, Pavelski, Briere, Hartnell, Giroux, Van Riemsdyk, Burrows, Kesler, Malone, Bergenheim, Franzen, Holmstrom, Filppula, Sullivan, Bergeron, Horton, Lucic, Laich, Knuble, etc.

The only name the Avs have (outside the three already mentioned) that compares to those guys is Fleischman. Oh, by the way, he’s not signed and there’s speculation the Avs won’t bring him back.

Essentially my conclusion for Avs forwards (and you can see my methodology after the jump) is that the Avs are desperately short of top-6 talent. They have a very solid base of 3rd liners who would be playoff contributers on any team, and they have three forwards worthy of a top-6. But ½ (or even ⅔ depending on your feelings on Fleischman) a top-6 is still a few major holes short.

If the Avs think this roster is going to grow into a playoff one, they only need to look at other rosters to see that’s not the case. It’s easy to think to yourself  “Yeah TJ Galiardi could develop into a second line player”, but when put up against cup contenders, does anyone really think he’ll develop the scoring prowess of a Setoguchi, Nathan Horton or James Van Riemsdyk?  

The Avs need more talent at forward. The draft may help, but the likely hood of drafting 2 guys that can contribute to the top-6 is slim, even with the #2 and #11 pick. And the Avs need help on defense too, although not as much. Even if they do nail this draft, it’ll take a while for those guys to develop. (Forwards traditionally hit their peak around 26 years old) Are the Avs willing to wait 3 more years to make a splash in this league?

After the jump is my take at where Avs players would be playing if they were on one of the top 8 rosters currently:



C-Matt Duchene
1st Line: Nashville, Boston
2nd Line: San Jose, Detroit, Vancouver, Philly, Tampa, Washington

Matt Duchene is a legitimate top 6 player, and in a few years will probably be #1 Playoff Caliber center. He’s not quite there yet, but there’s no reason to believe he won’t be.

C-Phillippe Dupuis
1st line: --
2nd Line: --
3rd Line: --
4th Line: Possibly all 8

Projecting which 4th liner would start for whom is difficult. Dupuis is probably borderline Healthy scratch/ 4th line, which is what he is for the Avs depending on certain coaches moods.

L-Tomas Fleischman
1st Line -  ---
2nd Line - Detroit, Boston, Tampa
3rd Line: SJ, Philly, Washington, Vancouver, Nashville

Fleischman is probably the toughest player on the Avs roster to project. He’s got talent, and this season he really had some great games for the Avs, buuuuut he’s never had more than 51 points in a season. I think he’s a #2 guy on most teams, but on a Cup contender... probably a 2-3 guy. (I am not as high on Flash as many Avs fans)

L/C-TJ Galiardi

1st Line: ----
2nd Line: ---
3rd Line: Nashville,  San Jose, Tampa, Vancouver, Detroit, Philly, Boston
4th Line: Washington,

TJ Galiardi is a very solid 3rd liner. I think that’s going to be his niche for a long time.

R - Milan Hejduk
1st Line: Boston, Nashville, Detroit, Vancouver,
2nd Line: Philly, Washington, Tampa
3rd Line: San Jose

At this point in his career he’s a 1st/2nd liner. And still awesome.

David Jones

1st Line: ---
2nd Line: ----
3rd line: All of them

David Jones is a top-notch 3rd liner. It’s hard to think that a 27 goal scorer wouldn’t crack the top 6 on any team, but the only one I can possibly see him jumping one of the other RWs is Detroit. I know a lot of people think David Jones proved he’s a 2nd liner, but I don’t see any team where he’d crack the top-6 without an injury. Although I think every team would love to be able to play him in the top 6 if there was an injury.

C-Jay McClement

1st Line: ---
2nd Line: ---
3rd Line: Nashville,  San Jose, Tampa, Vancouver, Detroit, Philly, Boston
4th Line: Washington,

If Manny Malhotra were healthy for the Canucks, he’d probably be a 4th liner there as well. Regardless, another very solid 3rd line defensive specialist for the Avs.

F-Cody McLeod

1st
2nd
3rd
4th

Cody would get a lot of Nachos on these teams. He might, might, get a few minutes in a couple games. He would not be much of a factor.


F-Peter Mueller

1st Line -  ---
2nd Line -
3rd Line: SJ, Philly, Washington, Vancouver, Nashville, Detroit, Boston, Tampa


Frankly, who knows where Mueller would play. He has a lot of talent, but like Fleischman his value among Avs fans is probably vastly overrated due to his small sample size of games where he played well for the Avs. I don’t think he’d currently crack the top-6 in any of the final 8 teams, but maybe on a team like Nashville he might sneak in there. To me, that’s a 3rd liner.

(And that’s before you take into account the fact he hasn’t really played a game in a year and a half.)


C-Ryan O’Reilly

1st: ---
2nd: ---
3rd: Boston,  Nashville, Detroit, Vancouver (minus Malhotra), Tampa, San Jose
4th: Philly, Washington

Again, the Avs with another really solid 3rd rounder/defensive specialist. This isn’t to say O’Reilly can’t grow into a bigger role, but he’s not there yet.

C-Mark Olver

1st Line: Manitoba Moose,
2nd Line: Milwaukee Admirals

Yeah... Olver would get a lot of playing time... for the AHL playoffs

Kevin Porter:

3rd Line:
4th Line: Boston, Philly, Tampa

Scratch: Nashville, Detroit, Vancouver, Washington, San Jose,

I think this is a bit tough for Porter, but I’m just not sure who he’d knock off the roster for a lot of those teams. And if he did knock them off the roster, he wouldn’t really get a whole lot of playing time.

C-Paul Stastny

1st Line: Nashville, Boston
2nd Line: Detroit, San Jose, Vancouver, Philadelphia, Washington, Tampa

Maybe Patrice Bergeron would be 1, and Stastny 2, or vice versa. Regardless Stastny is a really good 2nd line center to have on a playoff team, but he’s probably not quite the #1 guy for a Cup contender (unless he’s complimented by Vezina and Norris caliber teammates).

L-Ryan Stoa
Nacho, Nacho Man (Nacho man) He wants to be, a Nacho man. Yeah Stoa’s not going to make any of those rosters.

R-Danniel Winnik

1st Line: ----
2nd Line: ----
3rd Line: Nashville,  San Jose, Tampa, Vancouver, Detroit, Philly, Boston
4th Line: Washington,

Another one of the Avs bevy of very solid 3rd liners.

R/L-Branden Yip

3rd Line:
4th Line: Boston, Philly, Tampa

Scratch: Nashville, Detroit, Vancouver, Washington, San Jose

Branden Yip would be similar to how he was for the Avs, a complete total non-factor. He’d probably get quite a bit of press-box time to be honest.