The trade deadline has passed. In case you we're living under a rock, or had an internet outage, the Avalanche made a big splash in the last 48 hours, adding Adam Foote, Peter Forsberg and Ruslan Salei to the roster, while only giving up Karlis Skrastins (and 2 or 3 high draft picks). While I think all three moves are a win, with just one player leaving I've been wondering how everyone is going to fit...especially on defense.
When Forsberg arrives, the Avalanche will have 15 forwards. Obviously, that's at least one too many. I assume David Jones is headed back to Lake Erie when that happens (if not before). That leaves a lineup of something like this (I'm not trying to predict the lineup, just trying to accurately reflect the 12 guys that will dress):
Smyth - Stastny - Hejduk
Forsberg - Sakic - Brunette
Wolski - Arnason - Svatos
McLeod - Guite - Laperriere
The two "extra" forwards would be Scott Parker and Jaroslav Hlinka. With Forsberg's injury status, I think the Avs almost have to carry 14 forwards unless they want to risk dressing Scott Parker in key games. Cody McCormick is on the IR. I have no idea when he's due back, but, barring another injury, I assume either he or McLeod would be the odd-man out (with my money on the latter).
On defense, though, it gets a little more interesting. John-Michael Liles was not traded, as many expected, and suddenly we've got a bit of a log jam on defense. Once Foote and Salei arrive, we've got seven healthy defensemen:
Sauer - Foote
Leopold - Hannan
Liles - Salei
Kyle Cumiskey is the the seventh healthy blueliner and an eighth, Jeff Finger, is also on the roster. Unless Finger is headed to the IR, there's no room for Cumiskey, so he's likely sharing a plane with Jones to Cleveland. But, what happens when Finger is healthy? Who sits? Finger? Sauer? Leopold? And what happens if Brett Clark's shoulder is better than expected and he doesn't miss the rest of the season? We've learned in the past that depth is never a bad thing to have, but it may be difficult to juggle seven (or eight) players who all have shown to be solid NHL defensemen. Interestingly, four of these guys - Foote, Liles, Sauer and Finger - are free agents this summer. The way they are used - or not used - the rest of the way may be a good indicator of who might return next year.
For the record, I'm not disappointed to see Liles stay. We still need offense from the blueline, and I don't feel anyone moved today would have represented a significant upgrade to Liles. Like everyone else, I'm surprised he's still an Av tonight...but happy.