Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Free Agency 2009


Welcome to Free Agency 2009. Tomorrow, July 1st, teams will start trying to sign their dream free agents and then proceed to move to Plan B shortly after.

Taking out the UFAs and RFAs, here's how the Avs look for next season:

Smyth-Stastny-Hejduk
Vacant-Wolski-Svatos
Vacant-Hensick-Stewart
McLeod-Galiardi-Tucker

Liles-Hannan
Clark-Foote
Salei-Vacant

Not the most intimidating group.

UFAs

Tyler Arnason - If he's signed, expect a complete mutiny by fans, including this blog. No chance he's on the team next year.

Ben Guite - Great for the fourth line and the Avs should lock him up, preferably without a raise from last year's salary.

Ian Laperriere - Various reports say that he and the Avs can't agree to terms. If Lappy does leave, it's a big loss for a team that is going to be rebuilding this year.

Andrew Raycroft - No.

Joe Sakic - He's made his decision but the Avs are waiting to announce it. Like most, I'm betting that he's retiring. If he were coming back, wouldn't that help Colorado attract free agents?

Daniel Tjarqvist - Though he serviced the Avs well, it's time that the kids in the system, like Vernace and Cumiskey, are given their chances to shine.

Brian Willsie - He's going to play with Lake Erie for most of the year. Anything over the minimum is overkill.

RFAs

David Jones - According to Dater, the Avs did make an offer to Jones. If he signs it, the Avs better not have given him a substantial raise. He certainly doesn't deserve it.

Cody McCormick - Apparently, no offer was made to Cody McC. Many Avalanche fans love Cody for his hard-working attitude. I'm not one of them. Good luck elsewhere.

_______

Looking at the system, taking some guesses, and making some predictions, here's how I see the 2009-2010 Avalanche roster without any signings outside of the men listed above.

Smyth-Stastny-Hejduk
Hensick-Wolski-Stewart
Jones-Galiardi-Svatos
McLeod-Guite- Tucker

Liles-Hannan
Clark-Foote
Salei-Cumiskey

Budaj
Weinamn

Luckily, the Avs will not open the season with this lineup. There will be two or three signings along the way.

____________

With a little over 11 million to spend, the Avs have room, but not much room. Fans are unlikely to see another Ryan Smyth type deal anytime soon. That being said, the Avs need to do something.

Need #1 - A Starting Goaltender

Budaj isn't the answer, but with Raycroft on his way out, Boods will still get the nod as backup.

Solution #1 - Craig Anderson

Some will have you believe the Avs are better off with some Monster or Ty Conklin or even Martin Biron. They may be right, but in a year where goaltending is scarce, Anderson would be a solid pickup.

Last year, on the Panthers, Anderson was the owner of a 15-7-5 record. His .924 sv% was well above the league average of .908, and his GAA was a decent 2.71. He doesn't have much experience (only 109 games as of age 28) but Anderson has done well in limited action the past two seasons. Is it time for him to step up and become a starter? Perhaps.

If the Avs are willing to give Budaj a shot, they should be willing to give Anderson a chance to shine.

Other Options

Martin Biron, Scott Clemmensen, Ty Conklin, Manny Fernandez


Need #2 - A Top-6 Forward

I currently have Hensick penciled in as the second line left winger. I don't even want Hensick on the team.

Solution #2 - Nik Antropov

He's not the left winger I'd prefer, in fact, he's not a left winger at all, but he's better than nothing. Last season, Antropov put up 59 points in 81 games and was a big target at the trade deadline. He's a hard worker who does have somewhat of a scoring touch. If the Avs can sign him for about 3.5 million, he'd be suitable on the second line with Wolski and Svatos.

Note: I keep reading that Antropov is looking for a 5 million per year deal. If that's the case, he's way outside what the Avs are going to be willing to spend. Look for Colorado to target Knuble instead.

Other Options

Mike Knuble, Jason Williams, Tyler Arnason.


Need #3 - Another Defenseman

I really want to see the 6th defenseman spot filled by Cumiskey. It still doesn't hurt to add a replacement in advance

Solution #3 - Dennis Seidenberg

Young (27), decent (30 points in 70 games), and present (22+ minute average), Seidenberg would be a welcome addition to a blueline that was extremely weak last year. In a best case scenario, Brett Clark would be gone by Friday and Jay Bouwmeester would be on his way to Colorado; however, that's unlikely to happen at this point. Seidenberg would service the team well as the 6th or 7th guy.

Oh, from reading several Penguin blogs, I can say that Rob Scuderi is worth taking a look at. Penguin fans think there could be a bidding war, and recent quotes from Scuderi indicate that he'll remain a Pen, but still, it's worth a shot.

Other Options

Paul Mara, Greg Zanon, Steve Montador, Hal Gill

__________

An updated look at the squad:

Smyth-Stastny-Hejduk
Antropov/Knuble-Wolski-Svatos
Jones-****-Stewart
McLeod-Guite-Tucker
Hensick
Galiardi

Liles-Hannan
Salei-Foote
Seidenberg-Cumiskey
Clark

Anderson
Budaj

_____________

Now lets take into account the Lake Erie system.

Smyth-Stastny-Hejduk
Antropov/Knuble-Wolski-Svatos
McLeod-Stoa-Stewart
Tucker-Guite-Jones

Liles-Hannan
Salei-Foote
Seidenberg-Cumiskey

Anderson
Budaj

Spares: Hensick, Galiardi, Clark

_________

I understand Clark isn't going to be a spare. I understand the Avs don't want to get rid of guys who suck (see: Clark, Tucker) and I understand they don't want to get rid of guys who need to be on the first two lines to succeed (see: Svatos) but I can dream.

With 11.5 million to spend, Antropov, Anderson, and Seidenberg would probably be more than the Avs would want to spend anyway.

Thanks a lot, Darcy Tucker.

Have a pleasant July 1st.

May all your free agent dreams come true.

Go Avs.

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