30 June 2012
As of 10:00pm the night of June 30th, the Avs have $14M they have to spend on players. They also have 4 RFAs (O'Reilly, Johnson, Olver, McGinn). While they could spend $14M on those 4 (Johnson at $6M, O'Reilly at $5M, McGinn and Olver at $1.5M. Yes it's an overpayment, but in a world where David Jones gets $4M it's more than plausible) the chances are that the Avs will probably pick up at least one Free Agent.
So who should they get?
1st, lets go out and say I think they should sign both Parise and Suter tomorrow, but the chances are unlikely that they'll get either one, let alone both. If they do, well I'll be over the moon. So who should they go for if they can't get either of those guys? What positions do the Avs really need?
I'm here to answer that question for you (albeit, very very last minute)
Let's look at the Avs lineup right now (including the RFAs)
McGinn - Stastny - Jones
Langeskog - Duchene - Downie
???? - O'Reilly - Hejduk
McLeod - Olver - Kobasew
Johnson - Wilson
Hejda - O'Byrne
Hunwick - O'Brien
So, what do the Avs need from Free Agency tomorrow
Wing, specifically left.
Jaime McGinn was much better than I thought he would be when he was acquired by the Avs at the trade deadline last season, but I'm not sure I'd trust him with a full season on first line duty yet. I'd feel much better with him as the thrid option, and he fills in for injuries. (Also right now, the Avs are wafer thin in terms of depth. One bad injury would submarine the season)
So who do the Avs go after on the Left Wing. As I see it, there are three non-Parise Candidates: Alexandre Semin, P.A. Parenteau, Jiri Hudler
Pros: Established scorer. The guy scores goals. 187 of them since 2006-2007 to be exact. He's a good player. He's got a knock as a floater, but he's actually been pretty good with possession nearly his entire career. Last season he was second among Washington forwards in RelCorsi, and he wasn't shielded. With Average Quality of Competition and 51.1% zone start. He has positive RelCorsi every year back to 2007.
Cons: Well, there's that floater reputation, and it's somewhat deserved. There's just no doubt that he takes plays off at times. He's also coming off the worst season of his last 5. He's 28, meaning he's going to start the downside of his career very soon. And he's likely the most expensive of the Non-Parise options at wing.
Pros: Last season he had more points than anyone on the Avs (of course, he got to play against Bryzgolov and MA Fleury 12 times a season). The previous season he had 53 points. His possession stats the last two years have been relatively good. He plays with the best his team offers, but he does well with it.
Cons: Well, he got those good possession stats being pretty heavily shielded. He was linemates with Tavares, so it makes sense that he gets OZone starts, but he won't have that luxury. Also, he didn't start getting regular time in the NHL until he was 27. That's pretty late. Put all these together and I wonder if he may be a product of playing with a premier sniper like Tavares.
Pros: Hudler has pretty middle of the road stats, on a very good Red Wings team. They aren't great, but not terrible. He's also good for 15-25 goals every season....
Cons: Except when he isn't. Red Wings fans are constantly complaining about his effort/calling him a floater. He famously left for the KHL for a season (09-10). He had 25 goals last year, and 10 the season before. (Basically, I don't want any part of him).
Pros: He's a proven scorer and a rally good power forward (it's getting late so my ability to look up stats is waning)
Cons: He's a cheap shot who gets a pass because he smiles for the camera. He wants a 4 year contract and he's 35.
Verdict: as much as I hate to say it, the Avs really need a player of Semin's caliber. He has the least amount of questions associated with him, and a bad season for him (21 goals, 33assists) is still a very good season for any other player. The Avs don't have talent like his coming up through the ranks either. Floating issues aside, he's the best fit for this team (other than Parise)
The Avs never replaced what Kyle Quincey brought to the team after they traded him away. In fact, right now Ryan Wilson is probably the best option to pair with Erik Johnson. That should scare you, as Wilson is good for a 5-6, maybe a #4 defensman. But if the Avs are going to rely on Wilson to go against the best forwards other teams have to offer, the Avs are going to be in trouble. They need another defenseman. Going to do defensemen a little different. This is in wishlist order:
Pro: The guy was a workhorse for Philadelphia. Positive RelCorsi every season since 08, in an unprotected role (~50% OZone starts, decent QualComp). 27 years old. The guy is basically a rich man's Quincey. Oh, he's got Denver roots to boot (DU Alum)
Cons: He's one of those guys whose not super big or physical, just effective. Unfortunately, those guys seem to draw the ire of fans the most. Philly fans are bitterly divided on him. After Suter, he's the clear #2 d-man on the market. So he'll be expensive.
Personally, I think the Avs should push hard for him.
Pro: Ok, as most people I've never really seen him play. He was a Panther for cripes sake. But, his stats look good. Best defender on the Panthers in terms of RelCorsi, playing against decent competition, but with a higher Zone start %. (Florida spreads their defense pretty evenly though). He also had 33 points last season.
Cons: Not sure what bad to say about a player you don't see often. He didn't really crack the lineup until a couple years ago (at 25).
Pros: He had a decent RelCorsi, with a neutral zone starts (50%), and a pretty tough QualComp. 29 years old. Not quite as offensive as Garrison.
Cons: again, I don't know. 2 seasons ago he was shielded heavily, with the lowest QualComp and Zone start on the Blues. But he's overcome whatever the coaches saw in him then.
I'd be ok with either Garrison or Colaiacovo if they can't lure Carle.