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Some Thoughts on Roster Turnover

Revisting the Avs lineup from 4 years ago: How things have changed...

This was the worst night ever.
This was the worst night ever.
Doug Pensinger

Whilst looking back at the Avalanche's recent past, I came across an All Things Avs post from July 1, 2010. Our buddy Dater took a moment to comment on the lack of movement on the free agent front that year, and threw out some projected lines for the upcoming year:

TJ Galiardi – Paul StastnyChris Stewart

Peter MuellerMatt DucheneMilan Hejduk

David Jones – Ryan O'Reilly – Brandon Yip

Cody McLeodDaniel WinnikKevin Porter

Scott HannanKyle Quincey

Kyle CumiskeyAdam Foote

John-Michael LilesRyan Wilson

Craig Anderson, Peter Budaj

Ryan Stoa, David Koci, Philippe Dupuis, Kevin Shattenkirk, Colby Cohen, Jonas Holos

After suggesting those lines, he threw out this line:

Look, I’m not saying this is the next Cup winner. But the above lineup shows you why it was such a quiet day for the Burgundy and Blue on free-agent day.

And part of me scoffed, "Talent wise, we have gotten so, so much better than that team was!"

However, on paper, it really didn't look like this was going to be a bad team. At the end of the 2009-10 season, we had made the playoffs riding a red-hot Paul Stastny (20g,59a,79p) and our pair of rookie sensations (Matt Duchene and Ryan O'Reilly). We had traded out Wojtek Wolski for Kevin Porter and Peter Mueller. Remember when Mules came in? He and Duchene had that lauded insta-chemistry, and Mueller ended the year with 20 points in 15 games played. Despite being hurt, Milan Hejduk had thrown up 47 points in 62 games, and Chris Stewart earned his moniker 'GD' with 64P in 77GP. TJ Galiardi was coming off his rookie year, wherein he had led the team in shorthanded points and was an integral part of the penalty kill. Our D was weak, sure, but we had some prospects waiting in the wings and Old Man Foote was back to take things in hand!

Craig Anderson had saved his team's bacon with the best playoff goaltending performance since a certain #33 was in his heyday, and he looked like he was going to be our answer in goal for years to come. Darcy Tucker and Brett Clark had moved on, David Jones was finally getting healthy again, and Kyle Quincey was still being groomed to be a solid 3/4 defender. Ryan Wilson could play D and was able to smash people like a mack truck. Three days before Free Agent Day, we had acquired Daniel Winnik from the 'Yotes for a piddling fourth rounder, and we were all looking forward to seeing his contribution to the team. All in all, I remember being pretty damn happy with the situation.

Adrian Dater actually looked to be right.

But... dat roster turnover. Today, the Avalanche are (is?) almost a completely different team. Only 5 players remain from that projected lineup 3 and a half years ago: Stastny, Duchene, O'Reilly, McLeod, and Wilson. Everyone else has gone away. Mueller was killed by a concussion, so Hannan was traded to the Caps for Tomas Fleischmann (which didn't end well, either; stupid pulmonary embolism). Kevin Shattenkirk's torrid start to the season generated enough interest that he and well-known Blues killer Chris Stewart were traded to St. Louis for a slumping Erik Johnson and Jay McClement. The oft-injured Craig Anderson was abruptly traded away at the end of the season for Brian Elliot, who didn't stay, either, and Peter Budaj wasn't tendered.

In 2011-12, Kyle Quincey was traded for Steve Downie. Galiardi and Winnik went to San Jose for Fatty McGinn, Sgar, and Mike Connolly (currently playing in Europe). Kyle Cumiskey was traded to Anaheim for a bag of pucks. JML was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs in an attempt to shed salary (IIRC) for a 2nd round pick that bounced around and eventually became Mike Winther for the Dallas Stars. Jonas Holos returned to Europe. Colby Cohen became Matt Hunwick in a trade with Boston. Footer retired at the end of that season, too. Some of the guys that weren't quite good enough to stay on the squad, even in its awful state, fell to waivers or Free Agency: Kevin Porter, Philippe Dupuis, Brandon Yip, Ryan Stoa, and David Koci.

And just like that, the team had an entirely new face. The last hangers-on were David Jones, who was part of the the most recent trade to Calgary sending Alex Tanguay back to us, and Milan Hejduk, who never signed with another team after the Avs decided not to offer him a contract.

So, SoS, Dutchie, Radar, Highlander, and Mack Truck remain.

And, coming back to the part about talent... Even tho that lineup looked decent when I try to look at it from my then-me perspective, we definitely have more talent on the roster now. When I look at the differences between the two years' top 9, there are very few instances where I think that the 2010 version is an upgrade over the 2014 version:

2010 2014
Paul Stastny Paul Stastny
Matt Duchene Matt Duchene
Ryan O'Reilly Ryan O'Reilly
Chris Stewart Gabe Landeskog
Peter Mueller P.A. Parenteau
Milan Hejduk Alex Tanguay
David Jones Nathan MacKinnon
TJ Galiardi Jamie McGinn
Brandon Yip Max Talbot

I suppose that a healthy Mueller would be a pretty close parallel to a healthy Parenteau, and we don't have a good replacement for Chris Stewart in terms of size coupled with skill. I feel like Tanguay and Hejduk are pretty much a wash. But basically every position has been upgraded, some by a little, and others by a lot.

As far as the Defense goes, take a look at the list:

2010 2014
Scott Hannan Jan Hejda
Kyle Quincey Erik Johnson
Adam Foote Cory Sarich
John -Michael Liles Tyson Barrie
Kyle Cumiskey Andre Benoit
Ryan Wilson Ryan Wilson
Kevin Shattenkirk Nick Holden
Jonas Holos Karl Stollery

Look at how much better that D is. Its actually pretty legit, comparatively.

We've looked at the upgrades, but out of curiosity, I'll let everyone know what some of our ex-Avs are up to. I'm not going to trace everyone down and analyze each trade, but I'll update people on where some of our old team is, and how they are doing:

  • Chris GD Stewart: 15 goals, 10 assists in 50 games on a stacked St. Louis squad. He leads the Blues in penalty minutes: 13 minors, 5 majors, 4 misconducts. With how well that team is playing, he's only averaging 13:38 minutes a game.

  • Kevin Shattenkirk: Speaking of the Blues, Shattenkirk has 35 points for them (8g, 27a) in 49 games; 20 of those points came from work on the power play. Just because I know someone is going to mention it, EJ has 20 points on the season. Their goal totals are very close, tho: KS has 8g, EJ has 7g.

  • Peter Mueller: Mules recovered enough to play the shortened lockout season for the Florida Panthers, but didn't do especially well, and is now playing in Europe for Swiss club Kloten Flyers.

  • David Jones: Davey isn't doing especially well in Calgary, but he's not doing awfully, either. He has 13 points in 38 games, but missed 8 games recently due to some kind of funky eye infection. He's playing about 15 minutes a game and getting some PP time, altho he's not very effective on it.

  • TJ Galiardi: Also playing for the Flames, Galiardi has 9 points in 36 games. He's also rocking a 1.8% shooting percentage (!). As near as I can tell, he's a basic utility guy for the 'Lames. Kills some penalties, scores some, hits some.

  • Scott Hannan: At age 35, he's back with his first club, the Sharks, playing a few games when they need him to and doing an ok job. He has 8 points in 33 games this year, but his years since his time with the Avs have been rough for him. Since the trade that sent him to Washington, he's had 26 points in 199 games with a cumulative -20 across four teams in as many years.

  • Craig Anderson: Since leaving the Avs on apparently sour terms, Anderson has been awesome. The whole time has been with the Senators, and he has posted a cumulative .936sv% and 2.41GGA. As much as I love Varlamov, I still wish we could have found a way to keep Andy and 1st rounder that went to Washington. (That pick ended up being Filip Forsberg, but it was a pretty weak draft year)

  • John-Michael Liles: After a couple seasons with Toronto and dealing with being waived, he asked for a trade, and was given his wish minutes before the Leafs played in the Winter Classic this year. He's now with the Carolina Hurricanes, and has posted 2 points in 10 games with a +9 rating.

  • Daniel Winnik: Unable to come to terms with the Sharks the summer after he was traded there, he signed with Anahiem instead. He's been pretty good for them, putting up 1g 19a for 20p so far this year on a very good Ducks team.