After a busy weekend that left many Avs fans smiling, scratching their heads, sticking their heads in the sand, and/or wallowing in the bottom of a frothy mug, our Avalanche look very different from last year (hallelujah). Despite the frenzy of signings, there are still some notable Free Agents out there. The Avalanche roster appears fairly crowded right now, so the likelihood of the Avs signing another note-worthy FA is about as likely as Peter Budaj winning the starting job in Montreal - but that doesn't have to stop us from checking out who's left after this past weekend's feeding frenzy.
The Avs are much improved in goal, but gambled a lot to make the upgrade. Who's friend request did they ignore:
Pascal Leclaire: Another 1st rounder with injury problems, Leclaire played just 14 games in '10-'11 going 4-7-1 for a sucky Senators squad. In his one injury-free season, Pascal went 24-17-6 with 9 shutouts, .919 save %, and 2.25 GAA. But the poor guy is made of glass. Here's hoping Russian glass is burlier than the French-Canadian variety.
Ray Emery: Worse injured than our own Varlamov, Emery not only put up fantastic numbers in his short stint with Anaheim, he looked solid. That is a considerable achievement considering the same injury/disease ended Bo Jackson's career. Last season stats: 7-2-1, 2.28 GAA, .926 save %. We'll ignore his hideous playoff stats.
Cedrick Desjardins: More than a few of the MHH faithful had their glazed eyes set on the 25 year-old NHL newbie. The guy has won at every level, but hasn't stuck in the NHL. Is he the Tim Thomas of Quebec? Time will tell. Last season's tiny NHL sampling: 2-0-0. .968 save %, 1GAA.
More after the jump...
ON THE BLUELINE
Hejda is a solid addition that immediately bolsters the AVS' blueline. But Hunwick and Cumiskey? Really? I guess it makes sense if Barrie and Elliot are in the AHL, but c'mon! Bring the kids up! And what about these fellas:
Scott Hannan: Tallied 11 points last season (6 in 23 w/ AVS and 5 in 55 w/ Caps). Of course, Hobbit lovers everywhere know offense was not what Hannan was about. He's a defensive defenseman, but let us not forget he was a -23 over his time with the Avalanche (if you care about that kind of thing). Hannan was never worth his hefty contract, but he is a solid if unspectacular defenseman. He'll definitely receive a pay downgrade, and would be a benefit in the right place, but not Colorado.
Bryan McCabe: Put up 28 points in just 67 games last year split between Florida and the Rangers. He is 36, but still carries that big left-handed shot and powerplay prowess (4 of his 7 goals were with the man advantage).
Karlis Skrastins: Talk about unspectacular. He found his name in the boxscore 8 times last season, but at this point Old Skratch is a bottom 2 pair at best. He's 37, maybe Detroit would be interested....
That mug will make people think twice about entering our zone...
Jamie Langenbrunner: Yes, he just endured his worst season in years last season, and yes he's never scored 30 goals, but the veteran right wing has some bling: 2 Stanley Cup Rings (in 4 appearances) and an Olympic Silver medal. He's captained both team USA and the Devils. He's a leader, and at 35 still has something left.
Teemu Selanne: Probably still not the sweetest after taste in his mouth from his last stint in Denver, and he'll never play anywhere but Anaheim, but Selanne is truly timeless. If Hejduk is timeless, than Teemu is Santa Claus.
Vinny Prospal: He's streaky and he'll never be a true point per game dude, but paired with the right players, Prospal can produce (see Tampa Bay/Anaheim circa 2002-2006). He threw down 23 points in just 29 games last season and can play center or left wing.
Nikolai Zherdev: Definite cause for hesitation here, but dude has skill and talent up the Zherdev. He's only 26 and on the verge of a breakout year. (But then he'll demand huge $ and end up in Russia....).
Jason Arnott: Bigger and more skilled than Langenbrunner, Arnott too is a proven veteran leader. Plus, lots of playoff experience is always a boon. He is 37 and several years removed from impressive numbers, but he could still contribute in a limited role.
Ryan Shannon: He's small, but young, quick, and coming off his best season with 27 points in 79 games. He's also dangerous on the PK and I mean that in a good way, not the way the rest of the AVS were "dangerous" on the PK last season.