I truly believe that there are certain players in the NHL with a lot of talent who either had their development rushed in order to become the face of a franchise (Bogosian), and/or those whose upside is great enough to be considered a top-notch prospect but is passed around from team to team as trade bait, never truly finding a place to call home and develop as a player (Bergfors).
The Avalanche want youth, they want talent, they want potential, they want depth and they seem to always want a project. I have two players who I believe could not only fulfill those wants, but also flourish in the Avalanche system (And we wouldn’t have to overpay on July 1st!).
Right wing Niclas Bergfors: While in the thick of the 2009-2010 Calder Trophy race, being apart of the NHL All-Rookie Team and becoming a rising star in the New Jersey Devils organization, Bergfors was traded to the Atlanta Thrashers in the deal that sent Ilya Kovalchuk to the Devils. Unable to flourish in the ATL; Bergfors was then traded along with Rissmiller to the Florida Panthers in 2011 for Radim Dvorak and a 5th round pick. Personally, I believe he is not getting ANY respect. He has been passed
around the south more than a bottle of Jack Daniels. A young 24 year old right winger who plays gritty, consistent and who can score? So why isn’t he in a unipron yet? His only downside that I can see is that he is small (5’10 200lbs). I believe the Avs could pick him up for a good price (without overspending for someone like Simon Gagne or Andrew Brunette on July 1st). I think the reason his performance dipped last season was for two reasons (1) He was in a sophomore slump and/or (2) His confidence was shaken from the trades. Imagine going from being one of the future cornerstones of an explosive, young New Jersey Devils organization to getting traded to a team who would not exist in a year (ATL) in the deep south, and then getting traded to an even deeper south team (FLA) for a 30+ year old player? I can definitely understand the drop in his production. Niclas Bergfors is also from Sweden and perhaps with the Avs adding Gabriel Landeskog, and Joakim Lindstrom to the fold, he could find a home in Denver.
Defenseman Zach Bogosian: This was a player whose development was rushed by a desperate Atlanta Thrashers organization wanting to find their defensive cornerstone piece through tanking but didn’t want to pay for it in free agency. Begosian I believe still has a lot of potential, at the age of 22 he is still young and with the right organizational mindset like the Avalanche; he could flourish in our system. Signing Begosian would add size (6’3 215lbs), insurance, and depth to our roster in the event that our rookie defensemen aren’t ready, or if our defense becomes depleted with injuries.
If I were the Colorado Avalanche, on July 1st I would sign:
G - Tomas Voukon
G- Mike Smith
RW - Niclas Bergfors
D - Zach Bogosian
LW- Tomas Fleischmann (Come on Avs! Don’t kick him while he is down!)
I think the Avs should stay away from:
G - Ray Emery – An organizational cancer, too inconsistent
LW - Simon Gagne – Good heart, good leader, great player… always injured
LW - Andrew Brunette – Past his prime, if the darling of Minnesota can’t get signed by them you know that his time in the league is running out.
D – Ed Jovanovski – Great leadership potential… At 34, age is a factor