How do you feel about the off-season moves, and will they help or hurt?
The off-season: Hoo boy.
I feel like we've beaten this to death because what else are we supposed to do all August. The Iginla signing is a LIKE/10, I believe he's a player the upcoming season until he proves otherwise, but the term is gonna hurt. A two year deal would have been LOVE!/10.
Not many other moves do I care for much. Briere and Stuart are old, not good, and that means not going to get better. The Avs lost a very capable second goaltender in Giguere and failed to replace him in a meaningful way. They added a bunch of bottom guys hoping to find improvement somewhere, which is fine, but that should happen every year, and there are still serious holes, especially on the back end. And finally when you calculate the loss of Stastny for zero return, this is a team already due to regress that very probably got worse over the summer
I think the off-season moves were great. Losing Stastny stings, but there are two things at play: 1) He wants a top 6 role and on this current team he was trending towards a third line center role and it seems he wanted to be in St. Louis; 2) This let’s MacKinnon take up his mantle. That means more playing time in a center role for him which I think will be a net positive because, I think, MacKinnon will be a Top-5 center in the league by the end of the year. Losing Stastny’s defensive play hurts, btu the team will have to adjust.
I think the addition of Iginla is just amazing. He is everything this team needs and most importantly, Landeskog gets to learn from him.
I like the addition of Stuart because he adds a veteran presence and though he wont save the defense, he makes it better. The same goes for Briere who I think will add veteran leadership and help improve the 3rd line as well as the Power Play.
I also think Winchester brings some more talent to the 4th line along with Redmond bring depth.
While I'll miss Pappy's bubbling personality, I won't miss his unwilllingness to pull on the same rope as the rest of the the top 9. I'm genuinly excited about Iggy riding shotgun for Dutchy and Co. Stuart feels like a stopgap to give time to the younger guys in order to continue their development. The rest of the additions feel a little dartboard-y to see if they can find some depth and try a different kind of fourth line. Neither are things that you count on for big shakeups but they are typically components of successful teams. Long story short: Help.
I'm kinda in the "meh" category. I love that Iggy is going to be on the Avs, but am not thrilled with the terms that are involved. Would have loved it on a one-year deal. He is someone that brings a staggering amount of leadership to the team. AND DAT SMILE. Holden will have some competition in the "best smile" category.
I hated seeing Paul Stastny go. It seemed innevitable, but it doesn't make it any less painful. I wish the Avs would have "done" more, but reports are that they did try to sign some of those sought after agents. In a couple of years I think you'll see more "big names" want to come to Colorado. I wish the Avs would have gotten stronger on defense... and that they got a stronger back up.
Jerome Iginla was the highlight of the offseason and helps to lessen the loss of Paul Stastny up front. Brad Stuart is...well lets say a less than encouraging addition. Swapping P.A. Parenteau for Daniel Briere? This is a move that I’m still trying to comprehend. The talk is that Patrick Roy didn’t value Parenteau, but can Briere offer much in return? I have my doubts. It just seems like the Avs were willing to do anything to dump the last year of Parenteau’s deal and they are willing to take a chance on a shaky veteran in return. It’s difficult to view this as a hockey move.
The offseason moves will help us. Its true that losing Stastny hurt, but if MacKinnon is going to make the stride I think he's going to, the addition of Iginla is going to look genius. That steady, veteran presence is going to do wonders for the team. And honestly, I'm not counting on him to be at the forefront... If all he does is meander down the ice 5 strides behind Duchene/MacKinnon, do a little sweep along the boards and pot some clean up rebounds he'll still be fantastic.
I also have some high hopes about the roll that Brad Stuart will be able to play. He wasn't the answer to all my prayers, but I would put him third on our depth chart. That can't help but... um... help? As for the other signings... they are, singly, unimpressive. But when I look at the team as a whole, I feel much better about our ability to fill the lines when the inevitable injuries occur. We have depth... not the greatest players ever seen by man, but serviceable guys that can step in at a moments notice. I like the way the team has been built.
I'm a big fan of the Winchester and Redmond signings, depth has been the catchphrase since the Spring and these guys give the Avs options when injuries pop up.
There's many ways to look at the Stuart and Briere trades, neither are earthshaking and until I see them in real games it's difficult to say how good or bad they are. Stuart is an upgrade on Benoit and Briere adds... something to the bottom 6.
I feel indifferent about a lot of them. I strongly believe the Avs attempted to retain Stastny and his heart was set on going to St. Louis where he could be The Man and realized the writing was on the wall as Colorado was going to be transitioning to MacKinnon and Duchene moving forward. I think bringing Iginla and Stuart in were solid moves as long as the team has realistic expectations of them and especially in the case of Stuart don't overextend him beyond his abilities. The PA-Briere deal will always be a lightning rod because it was a bad hockey trade and a good locker room/salary cap trade. There are so many angles to consider that I ultimately consider it a wash...for now. Our decisions moving forward using the flexibility gained in that trade will determine the true "winner" in the long run. For now, I think the Avs positioned themselves to improve upon their faults on defense, even if it wasn't as much as we all had hoped, and will likely continue to sustain the offensive prowess that really drove this team last year. Backup goaltending remains a very murky situation, though, and we better hope Reto Berra gets it under control for the 20-25 games he's likely to play.
I wrote about 2500 words on the subject back in July, but in essence, I think this year's Avs are perhaps less talented but more complete than 2014's. They got rid of some skilled but redundant players (Stastny and Parenteau) and brought in a group (Iginla, Stuart, Briere) with maybe less upside but a wider and more tailored range of talents. The age of these players makes them a bit of a gamble, but if everything works out, they should complement our core players more effectively and help them elevate their games.
If the whole truly is greater than the sum of the parts, I believe this summer was a step in the right direction for the franchise. They're now deeper at all positions, can better withstand injuries, and have more tools to catch the opponent off-guard. There's still room for improvement and I doubt the Avs hit 112 points again, but they'll likely have a better showing in the playoffs and are ultimately closer to contending than they were last season.