Avalanche Sophomore GM Greg "The Shermanator" Sherman is finally showing Avs fans that he is a man with a plan, other than "hurry up and wait" for our youth to take us to new heights. Under Sherman's leadership, the organization is finally cashing in on all those years of great drafting (especially of blue-liners), and though his style may not be that of big trading Pierre Lacroix, under whom the Avs enjoyed constant success, he is certainly crafting a team that's going in the right direction.
Honestly, I thought so. After an off-season that nearly led me to boredom-induced self-mutilation, I really wasn't expecting any moves out of this team. I was pleasantly surprised by the snatching of Ryan O'Byrne for prospect Michael Bournival, but my world was not rocked.
Then Sherman went CRAZY! I think I wasn't the only fan here at MHH who was shocked, confused, and experiencing strange heart palpitations when the team made two trades in as many days. I was initially pretty pissed that we'd traded Colby Cohen for Matt Hunwick, especially with our plethora of NHL-ready defensemen already fighting for ice-time.
And Sherman didn't even give me time to come around before he flipped Scott Hannan for Tomas Fleischman. I was just uttering the words "Well, uh...maybe there's another trade coming" when it came.
And I gotta say, I like what I'm seeing.
Essentially, in the three mid-season trades we've seen this year, Sherman has flipped one NHL player for 3. Scott Hannan is the only proven entity we lost, and while defense continues to be a concern for this young team, to replace him, we ended up with a bigger and more physical Ryan O'Byrne, and a quicker, more offensively gifted (but still solid in his own end) Matt Hunwick.
But that's not all! Without losing any NHL pieces, Sherman also added a natural left winger in Tomas Fleischman. Fleischman is a top six winger that will help us out while we're injured and perhaps beyond. And we're not weighted down with a bad contract, as he can go away via unrestricted free agency if we don't like. In fact, all three of our new acquisitions are free agents at the end of the year.
And perhaps most interesting of all: our already young roster got younger. We rid ourselves of Hannan (31), and gained O'Byrne (25), Hunwick (25), and Fleischman (26). All come with NHL experience, but none come with gray hairs.
Now, of course, Hannan isn't the only asset we gave up. Colby Cohen and Michael Bournival will be missed in our system, for sure. But from what I've read, Bournival wasn't ever going to be much more than a 3rd liner, and Cohen would probably max out at a 4-6 d-man and powerplay specialist. We've known it for years: our defensive prospect cup runneth over. And our biggest weakness on forward is top-six winger prospects.
While looking at each of these trades individually, there's an argument to say that the Avs "lost" the trade each time. But when looking at the bigger picture, I'm really liking the mark that Sherman left. We got
- Younger, trading a 30+ and 2 prospects for three twenty-somethings.
- More experienced, especially on the blueline.
- More physical, because Hannan never was, and O'Byrne is.
- Bigger, again O'Byrne brings the size.
- Faster, with Hunwick faster than Hannan, and Fleischman no slouch himself.
- Deeper, getting a legitimate top-six left wing where we needed one, and adding to our already deep defensive corps.
So, I say good job, Shermanator! We still have more defensive depth to work with, so maybe there's another deal or two coming. But I think this new, small-deal-making GM is doing a great job. I think in the end it will turn out to be more effective than Lacroix's big splashing and Giguere's big (and ill-advised) off-season spending. So, despite what anyone says, Sherman has addressed our needs without giving up any vital pieces or sacrificing our future.