Monday, June 15, 2009

David of Mile High Hockey on the Avalanche's upcoming draft

Soooo the playoffs are officially over. We got a little ahead of ourselves by posting the contributions for the New York Islanders (from Dominik at Light House Hockey) and the Tampa Bay Lightning (from Raw Charge), but now that it's appropriate we're moving on to a team that used to never be in this position. That would be the Colorado Avalanche.

For the Avs, we asked David of Mile High Hockey to provide perspective on the Colorado Sakics. In case you haven't been following things, it appears the Avs cleaned house ... well, except for canning the one guy they really should have (Pierre Lacroix). As you will see from the MHH folks, it's not really a time of high morale for the Avs.

But don't be too negative, Colorado fans. They might actually do well with their third pick and that Paul Stastny fellow looks like a keeper (albeit a kind of expensive one).

ANYWAY, enjoy David's contributions and be sure to follow the rapidly changing Avalanche franchise at Mile High Hockey. Thanks David!

1. So most (if not all) of the hype goes into the Tavares-Hedman debate. Do you feel like the Avs pulled the shortest straw in the draft lottery?

MHH: Honestly, no. The eight fans that the Avalanche have left are quite excited about Matt Duchene. We've sold ourselves so well on him that we've actually become a little delusional; there would be some pangs of disappointment if we went #2, sticking us with Tavares or Hedman.

2. With all the front office upheaval going on in Colorado, how confident are you that the Avalanche will be able to make the right choice with the #3 pick?

MHH: I'm terrified, frankly. I'm not all that worried that the Avalanche will screw up our first top-5 pick in 17 years. I am extremely worried that the Avalanche will trade the pick for some overprice, over-the-hill veteran.

3. Describe some of your favorite Avs' (and/or Nordiques?) draft memories. Is there a pick that stands out as the best one they've made? Are there any steals that come to mind?

I can't say that I have any specific draft memories that stand out. Joe Sakic at 15th overall has to stand out as as their best pick. I would love to type that Marek Svatos was a nice steal as a 7th round draft pick, but since Henrik Zetterberg was also a 7th round pick, I'll keep it to myself.

4. On the other end of the fence, describe some of the lowest moments for the Avs (and/or Nordiques). Which decisions stick out as some of their worst in the draft? Which picks/overlooked players do you think the Avalanche regret the most?

I still remember the string of curse words flowing from me when I saw that the Avalanche had traded Alex Tanguay for Jordan Leopold. In retrospect, it wasn't that bad of a trade for the Avs - they also got a couple of 2nd rounders, and Tanguay has faded - but it was still tough to see him go. Speaking of Tanguay, the Avalanche have had just one other 1st round pick (Wolski) make it in the NHL since Tanguay was drafted in 1998, so the list of picks the Avalanche regret the most is very, very long.

5. Feel free to add whatever else you'd like about the Avalanche and the NHL draft. How do you feel about the future of the team?

I don't feel very good about the future. The Avalanche have drafted decently in recent years which has helped replenish a system bled dry by poor drafts and some questionable trades by Pierre Lacroix. But the jury is still out on whether or not the Avalanche have the right system to develop all the talent they've been acquiring, as a lot of players seem kind of stuck at "almost there". And, oh by the way, Lacroix figures to be less subtle with his front office puppet show and should begin depleting said talent with flashy trades any day now.


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Joe said...

I'm just waiting for the Avs to get bad enough that they start giving away tickets like Florida or something. Pepsi Center is SO easy to get to.

Anaheim Calling said...

Gotta say I'm less pessimistic about the Avs future. Just based on this last NCAA season, if they can integrate Stoa and Yip this year, they've got dynamite. Nothing like Berglund and Oshie for the Blues, but maybe enough to play on the playoff-spot bubble. That's assuming they employ a goaltender for more than they offered Laperriere

jamestobrien said...

It IS interesting that the Avs can revamp their goaltending, although there aren't a TON of options. Maybe a short term fix like Biron or Roloson could be helpful?

Anaheim Calling said...

Well, it's probably wishful thinking on my part. I'm sure another #1 will be displaced this offseason by trade or acquisition, but I doubt the Avs will be willing to fork over the dough.

However, if they're dead-set on employing netminders who were considered good in 2004, I suggest they move on to Al Montoya. I'm sure PHX would give him up cheap. Same 2004 luster at a 75K discount.

Though seriously, I do think Al Montoya could have a good year as a starter this year. There ARE smart ways to be frugal when you're in the cellar.

jamestobrien said...

The one thing the Avs did right: at least they didn't pay much for their awful goaltending. That's me being glass is half-full, folks.

Anaheim Calling said...

@O'Brien. You give up on the Read More...?

And how often are these draft previews coming? Will you get through the entire first round before draft day?

jamestobrien said...

I was having some problems with the Read More interface, but I'm not giving up on it ... permanently. For now, yes, but when I feel inspired I'll do it again.

Actually, I think I might play around with it on one of the mini-blogs to make sure all the bugs are out.

As far as the draft coverage, I'm hoping to get a post up per team. Which means that I'll be e-mailing a lot of team bloggers tonight. It's unclear if there's enough time to get every team represented, but it's worth a shot, right?

Anaheim Calling said...

Definitely. Always good to have another mock draft out there, especially from people that are actually familiar with their team's draft tendencies, for better or for worse.

Joe said...

I love me some Al Montoya! GO MICHIGAN!

Shit, I'd go see an Avs game if Montoya were the goalie. I've been waiting to see him get into the NHL for a few years now. My roommate was actually at his debut game here in Denver.