"This young team was ready to challenge, almost, for a Stanley Cup this season," Peter Stastny told KMOX radio in St. Louis on Tuesday. "They were so good. All they needed was some more chemistry and some synergies. Instead, they destroyed the team."
"I should not have said this, but I'm so, so mad with what they've done to this team," Stastny told the radio station. "They've moved the team about two to three years back."
I know that a lot has been said about this trade already. But I am going to try to run through my thought process with this:
My first thought is that the team isn't going anywhere with out a legitimate number one goaltender. Craig Anderson underperformed, rejected a contract offer and they are going to have to start from scratch next year. Had neither of those things had happened, they would probably be closer to being contenders. Their best goaltending prospect is only going to be 19 next season.
My second thought is that even if they had the goaltending they were expecting, their next step in terms of personnel to get to the next level was to have at least one elite defenseman in the line up. They have none. And arguably had no true stud defenseman in the system. Kevin Shattenkirk was probably the closest. But, I don't really think that there're any elite defensemen out there that are his size (which seems exaggerated when compared to other defenseman like Lidstrom who are listed as roughly the same size).
Erik Johnson is just a year older than Shatty, has two more years professional experience (excluding his injury year), and seems to better possess the tools projectable to being that elite defenseman.
Chris Stewart was a big price for the Avs to pay to get that defenseman as he truly has the tools to become a dominant power forward in the NHL and has shown flashes of that over the past two seasons. But, I think that one could argue that there are fewer elite defensemen available than there are power forwards and the price to acquire them is much higher.
If anything is to be learned from the previous two cup winners, it's that goaltenders and defensemen take more time to develop than do forwards (note the ages/experience of Keith, Seabrook, Orpik, Gonchar, Fleury, Niemi versus those of Kane, Toews, Crosby, Malkin, Staal). In other words, their chances of drafting another Chris Stewart and rolling him into the line up of a contender are higher than are their chances of drafting another Erik Johnson for that contending team.
The move seems to have left Colorado thin at the forward position. But after the initial shock of thinking that Greg Sherman blew up the team wore off, it seems that it may have been the correct time to make the move.