Could this be the day?
Twitter was somewhat smoldering yesterday with rumors of pending deals for John-Michael Liles and / or Paul Stastny to Toronto, Montreal or the New York Rangers. Reportedly, the Flyers have kicked the tires on Adam Foote and we still think there's a possibility that Milan Hejduk and Peter Budaj may be moved at the deadline.
Turnover is a fact of life of all modern sports leagues, a point driven home in the previous paragraph. That list of players doesn't just represent potentially heart-wrenching trades. It also represents the longest tenured players on our team.
You all know that Adam Foote has been playing with the Avalanche since the Renaissance, except for a brief layover in Ohio. But even if you just go back to spring of 2008 when Foote re-joined the team, there's not many guys left. On that roster that year:
- Milan Hejduk (debuted in '98-'99)
- John-Michael Liles (debuted in '03-'04)
- Peter Budaj ('04-'05)
- Paul Stastny ('06-'07)
- Kyle Cumiskey ('06-'07)
- Cody McLeod ('07-'08)
- David Jones ('07-'08)
And that's it. Everyone else has joined the team / made their debut in the last 3 years. This summer will mark 10 years since the Avalanche last hoisted the Cup. In those 10 years, on-ice performance has been uneven and we've seen the retirement or departure of some big names: Sakic, Roy, Forsberg, Bourque, Blake, Drury. Hejduk and Foote are the only holdovers from that last Cup, and they'll be moving on along soon.
We'll probably never another collection of talent like that, but the loss of those greats has been mitigated over the years by the promise of the next line of superstars: Liles, Stastny, Smyth, Duchene, Shattenkirk, Stewart, Wolski, Hishon. Already, many of those players are gone (one new name has been added to the "next" list in Erik Johnson), and, if the rumors are true, a few more could be joining them soon. Losing Shattenkirk and Stewart was tough. Losing Liles will be hard as well (and seriously, if all we get is a 2nd round pick for him, I'm going to have to buy a unipron just to burn it in protest). Losing our gap-toothed face of the franchise? I'm not sure I'm ready to cope with that one. Let's just say this: the return better be overwhelmingly in our favor.
Greg Sherman has not been shy about shaping this team the way he wants. Just a month after taking over the post, he jettisoned a key Francois Giguere free agent acquisition, Ryan Smyth and let Ian Laperriere take his monstrous heart elsewhere. This season, he's traded Scott Hannan, Craig Anderson and Giguere's two first round draft picks in Shattenkirk and Stewart. This is his team, even if he doesn't deal fan favorites like Liles and Stastny. (Hint: please don't).
The question is, will we be able to fall in love with it all over again?