Sandie, Cheryl and I were having one of our regular pants-optional MHH planning discussions the other night and the subject of traffic came up. Suffice to say, things have been pretty slow around here lately. Perhaps some of that is because we chose to take the less-provocative route this year by not assigning letter grades (OMG, How could you give him a B-??? He was clearly a C+ player!!!) and I'm sure the lack of Randy has had an impact as well. But I posited that there's another fairly large factor at work here.
This is shaping up to be the dullest Avalanche offseason in a long, long time.
Every year, there are some compelling storylines for Avalanche fans to obsess over. Last year, the Avalanche had two high draft picks. Would the Avalanche end up with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Gabriel Landeskog or Adam Larsson? Or how about puck movers Dougie Hamilton or Ryan Murphy at #11? Meanwhile, the Avalanche had jettisoned both Peter Budaj and Brian Elliott, and would be acquiring a goalie either in free agency or via trade. Would it be Vokoun, Bernier or Schneider? Was Paul Stastny going to be traded?
The year before that, the Kovalchuk sweepstakes loomed large. Before that was the summer of welcoming Duchene...and bidding farewell to Sakic. You could go back to each offseason and at least find something worth debating. Those were the days, my friends.
This year, our biggest question marks may be how long the new contracts for Matt Duchene, Ryan O'Reilly and Erik Johnson will be. Thrilling. The coaching staff and front office isn't going to change much, if at all. The Avs don't have a first rounder, so the draft loses a bit of juice as well. The Avs do might have two 2nd rounders, if the Capitals pass on taking the 54th pick and to defer to the Avs' 2013 pick. Odds are, though, that none of the Avalanche picks this year will be making the Landeskog Leap. And then there's free agency. The Avalanche, of course, have a mountain of cap room to throw at an incredibly weak free agent class. Ooh boy, I can't wait to see which of the eight (eight!) UFAs under 35 who scored 40 points last year we'll fall in love with. WE HEART YOU KYLE WELLWOOD!!!
We have heard some rumors that the Avalanche want to make some boldish additions this summer, but the UFA crop just doesn't seem very compelling after Ryan Suter and Zach Parise. You can never count out a big trade from Greg Sherman, but it's not like last year where we all felt that one was imminent (and, in the end, it was...just a little different than we thought). In the end, we're stuck with what is looking like one lame offseason. I sure hope you guys like open threads...