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An Outsider's Perspective: Joshua Cooper

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Join us as we chat with Joshua Cooper of Puck Daddy about the state of expansion, and the Avs.

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The next installment of this series comes from Joshua Cooper.  After covering the Nashville Predators for The Tennessean, Cooper was scooped up by Puck Daddy as a Staff Writer in October of 2014.  Let’s see what he had to say about the state of expansion, and the Avs.

Las Vegas and Quebec were the only two cities to bid for expansion.  Do you see both cities gaining teams?  If so, how do you see realignment working within the NHL (if anything is changed)? 

JC - I think the NHL is moving forward on this in a very calculated manner. Seattle was a favored choice, but did not put in a bid. I don't think the league can expand by just one team, but I also think adding one team in the East and one in the West will force another realignment, though not as extreme as the prior change. 

Recently, the Arizona Coyotes and the city of Glendale agreed on an amended lease to the city's lease agreement.  Is this a win for Glendale, the NHL or both?  Do you foresee Arizona being moved to another location? 

JC - I see this as a win for hockey fans in Arizona. The area gets to keep its team. As for the City of Glendale and the NHL, we'll see how this shakes out over the next few years. 

Before free agency, the Avalanche acquired Carl Soderberg's rights from the Boston Bruins for a 6th round pick in a move that seemed to be the final nail in the coffin of the Ryan O'Reilly trade.  They then extended him for 5 years, $23.75 million .  What are your thoughts on the trade, and the extension?

JC - They got a guy, who isn't exactly the level or age of O'Reilly, for a decent price as far a sixth-round pick. Obviously they think he can step in and play O'Reilly's center role, or fit as a No. 2 center behind Nathan MacKinnon. That's what they're paying him to do. 

The Avs' big splash this off-season came in the form of a trade when they dealt Ryan O'Reilly at the draft along with Jamie McGinn for Nikita Zadorov, Mikhail Grigorenko, J.T. Compher and the 31st overall draft pick.  What was your initial reaction to the trade and how do you see these players fitting into the Avs' future? 

JC - My initial reaction was 'it's about time.' O'Reilly seemed to have trouble in Colorado stemming from his offer sheet situation in 2013. There seemed to be some bad blood brewing there for some time. I have to give Colorado props for getting a first-line type haul for a guy who may be a marginal first-line center. Maybe more of a high-end second line center, low-end first liner. 

During free agency, the Avs signed Francios Beauchemin for 3 years, $13.5 million and Blake Comeau, for 3 years, $7.2 million.  What are your thoughts on the fit and the contracts of these players for the Avs?  

JC - I covered the Ducks a bit in the playoffs this year, and Beauchemin just looked exhausted by the end. Then again, he was playing first pair minutes. If Colorado's going to use him correctly it would probably have to be on the second pair or lower. Also, I'm not sure how that deal will look in the third year. Probably great for Beauchemin but bad for Colorado. This just feels like his last contract, and he's getting paid handsomely for it. 

Last but not least, looking forward, how do you think the Avs look compared to a year from now?

JC - I really like a lot of their forwards, and I think MacKinnon is going to be a great center for a lot of years. I hate to go down this road again with the Avs, but unless they preach more of a puck possession system, I don't think they'll go super far. The teams that go far seem to possess the puck in the offensive zone. Colorado hasn't done that under Patrick Roy as coach and hasn't really tried to get better at this. 

They have the talent, but they need to change their tactics a bit to keep with the changing times in the NHL. 

A big thanks to Josh Cooper for taking the time to answer these questions for us!  His writing can be found at Puck Daddy and you can follow him on Twitter at @JoshuaCooper.  Please take the time to thank him yourself!