Well, the 2001 draft has come and gone and this goddess has some mixed feelings about her hometown Avalanche. This is actually good — for the first time in a number of years they’ve done some things that have needed to be done and I’m not left swearing off hockey for a couple of months while I accept the fact that the Avs will suck yet again.
First and foremost, the Avs picked a solid, scoring winger that is ready to play in the NHL right now. How many years in a row have I bemoaned the fact that the Avs have become a holding ground for a homogenous group of North Americans, waiting for them to develop, fall out of favor or be traded? How many drafts have I anxiously awaited the arrival of a skilled European to give us the diversity every team needs to succeed? Well, we finally got it with the big Swede Gabriel Landeskog. I’m not alone when I say that the Avs desperately needed this piece of the puzzle – a big left winger with wonderful hands. And don’t forget our second pick Duncan Siemens who they’re calling a “throwback defenseman” for his stay-at-home, crushing mentality. Goodbye Liles, hello real defense!
That is the good.
The bad? It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that ol’ Kroenke clearly meets the criteria for that role – especially when you have a team that is costing you $28 million in salary and you are $36 million under the cap. That’s right, folks. The owner of the NHL Rams, soccer legend Arsenault, the Pepsi Center and numerous other teams and business ventures, can’t seem to spend any of his hard earn cash on the team that has given so much to him and his fortune. It might be excusable if he were struggling for cash flow but the money is there in abundance. So why is Kroenke refusing to open his wallet?
That, my friends, could be the ugly in all this. The Avs have money. The Avs need a goalie. There are no legitimate goalies available (I will shoot myself if we get another struggling goalie such as Vokoun as people are speculating) and the Avs’ don’t even have a semi-developed goalie ready to step in. This may mean that the Avs are banking their money and a couple of stellar players for a trade to acquire a big time netminder. Ugly because while they desperately need a bona fide goalie, I’m not sure I’m ready to say good-bye to Stastny, Duchene Johnson, or whomever else it would take.
The solution? With the CBA ending this year and next year being a potential strike year, maybe they just call up one of those youngsters and give them a shot. If they’re lucky, they end up with an up-and-coming breaking out into the league. At this point, they’re better off going with an unknown than with a mediocre known quantity. If it doesn’t work out so well, they can snag a well-known name after this year. Lord knows there will certainly be enough cash flow for it.
Unfortunately, this seems to be the best way out of the pickle the Avs have gotten themselves into. So maybe we can end up with The Good, The Bad and – the Not So Ugly. Could be worse, I guess.