Sunday, July 1, 2007

What a Day! Avs Fans Rejoice!

WooHoo! That pretty much sums it for Avs fans.

Lets start with the news we all learned just a few minutes ago.

Ryan Smyth signs with the Colorado Avalanche!
Source: http://tsn.ca/nhl/news_story/?ID=212495&hubname=
The No Movement Clause scares me a little bit, but Smyth fills in the left wing sport on what will now become the Smyth-Stastny-Hejduk line. Props to Francois Gigure for getting him at a borderline price, but seemingly putting the Avs back into the elite club in the Western Conference.

Scott Hannan Joins the Avs!
Source: http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/feature/?fid=4965
Another great move on an exciting first day of free agency. The Avs get their defensive defenseman and we took him away from the Sharks, who literally "took a bite" out of our Playoff chances last year.

So where does this put the Avs?

First of all, we addressed our main concern of getting a reliable defensive guy. Hannan has been solid over the past few years for the Sharks and will come into Colorado as a top line defeseman most likely.

Smyth is a huge move that not only gives us a man in front of the net, but another leader who will help promote the hard work our team put in last season. He was easily a Top 3 or 4 free agent and we got him. Ryan Smyth is now an Av. Celebrate.

This elevates us from a Playoff team to a Stanley Cup team. Think I'm going overboard? I'm not. Look at the Avalanche core:

Sakic, Hejduk, Brunette, Stastny, Smyth, Wolski, Liles, Hannan, Leopold, Arnason, Lappy, Budaj, etc.

That's a dangerously impressive group.

I was thinking back to 2004 when we got both Selanne and Kariya and was thinking about whether or not this could be a repeat of that season. But don't fret. If all goes according to plan, the Avs will be bring home their third Cup next June. Enjoy it.

3 months to go...

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Gomez, Pitkanen, Avs Update

Some more deals:

Edmonton trades Lupol and Smith to Philadelphia for Pitkanen and Sanderson.
www.tsn.ca
What's up with Philly? Trading away Pitkanen when just last week, Holmgren regarded him as "untouchable."

As reported by ESPN, the Rangers signed Scott Gomez to a seven year deal. No terms announced.
Great deal by Rangers. Makes Nylander possibly leaving easier to swallow and Jagr has a new best friend.

Avs have apparently made an offer to not only Ryan Smyth, but Chris Drury as well. No news on Hannan in awhle. Perhaps we've already signed him?

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FREE AGENCY!

Most exciting day of the year, eh?

Several teams have already made splashes:

Philadelphia signed Daniel Briere to an 8 year - 52 million dollar deal. Apparently, it was less than what the Habs offered him.
Great move by Philly, as they look to have put themselves back into the Playoffs. But don't expect anything else from them today.

Detroit signed Brian Rafalski to a 6 year - 30 million dollar deal.
Decent price, and it replaces...

Mattieu Schneider, who signed with the Anaheim Ducks.
This is probably in case Scott Niedemayer retiries. The Ducks have the best defense in history as of right now.

What about the Avs?

We lost Brett McClean to the Panthers. McClean was our energy player and he will be missed in Colorado. He'll be making more than Brunette next season, so I'm happy we didn't sign him.

According to various rumors site, the Avs are VERY close to signing Ryan Smyth and Scott Hannan. We are also in the running for Chris Drury.
Any of thse guys would be good, but Hannan would be best. Getting Drury back would be a dream come true.

*Rumor sites include The Fourth Period, TSN, and Eklund from HockeyBuzz.com.

Big Free Agents Yet to Sign:
-Chris Drury
-Ryan Smyth
-Scott Gomez
-Paul Kariya
-Scott Hannan
-Sheldon Souray
-Brad Stuart
-Michael Handzus

More updates to come.

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Draft Review

What a draft! The Avs did a great job, even if we did pass on Cherepanov. But lets look at it from a "fuller" point of view!

The Top 3 Picks
1. Patrick Kane - Chicago
2. James Van Riemsdyk - Philadelphia
3. Kyle Turris - Phoenix

Everyone knew that these three would be the first ones taken, but the order didn't turn out as I expected it. Although I felt Turris would go number one, Kane is certainly a safe pick. Small and speedy, he's just another foward to add to Chicago's arsenal. Expect the Blackhawks to be scary in the next 3-5 years. I can't believe the Flyers didn't take Turris. They've been scouting him for years. Instead, they took Van Riemsdyk, who has way too hard of a name to become a well known player :P He's off to college, so Flyers fans are in for a wait. Then comes Turris, who fell right into the Coyotes lap. Easiest pick of the night.
Fact: The first draft in history in which two Americans were taken with the top two picks!

Surprises: The first surprise is the number four pick, [b] Thomas Hickey[/b]. Hickey wasn't even one of the top three defensemen on the board and considering his size, I'm shocked the Kings took him. Why not Keaton Ellerby or Karl Alzner? (Both were taken in the Top 10.) This could come back to haunt them.

What about Alexei Cherepanov falling all the way to #17. A foward from Russia, you can bet that the transfer agreement came into play here. He says he'll be in the NHL by next year, so I'm not sure why teams were skeptical. I mean, if they don't let him come, he can always pull a Malkin :P

Angelo Esposito falling to the Penguins at #20? At one point, he was the unanimous #1 pick. Wait a sec. Cherepanov and Esposito falling to two of the leagues' marquee teams? Is something going on here? Eh, who cares. The Pens just got a whole lot scarier.

Winners:
Colorado: Stayed away from centers, and got much needed defensive depth with Shattenkirk and Colby Cohen, both of whom are responsible and can score.

San Jose: Nick Petreki, the most physical defenseman available and Logan Coture, an extremely talented foward gives San Jose a great future first line.

Loser
Los Angeles: If you wanted a defenseman, Alzner was the way to go. I can't justify Hickey. He would have been there in the 20's or 30's. Should have traded the pick.

Could Be A Surprise:
Trevor Cann: Taken by the Avs (This is a Colorado Avalanche blog, first ;)) Cann was the best goalie in the draft. And even though the position was very thin this year, Cann will have an oppurtunity in Colorado after Theodore is shown the door and Cann is allowed to compete with Peter Budaj for the #1 job in the 2008-2009 season.

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