Happy holidays, friends! Hope all is well with you and yours, and you’re all enjoying some time off, egg nog and packed houses filled with distant relatives!
Here’s some light reading for you if you’re looking to go into another room for a brief respite from said family and distant relatives.
Now that the Hall sweepstakes are over, who do you see as a deadline score? If we lose a DMan for a long length, could you see Seabrook?— JohnReed (@bcos4life) December 23, 2019
Yes, thank the heavens the Hall sweepstakes is over.
But it’s out of the fryer and into the frying pan it seems when it comes to trade speculating. Hall’s out, but there are plenty of other fish in the sea.
In keeping with the holiday theme, my wish list to Santa probably consists of a middle-pairing physical defenseman. A guy like Alex Pietrangelo probably tops my list. He’s still relatively young at 30 and is set to be a UFA this offseason. Torey Krug would be nice too. In all likelihood, however, both will be re-signed to some generous extensions, and the Avs probably wouldn’t want to take on a bigger cap hit like theirs anyway.
On the cheaper side of things — and more realistic options — likely include Sami Vatanen from New Jersey — I’m sure Joe Sakic still has Ray Shero’s number on speed dial.
...or perhaps, a Tyson Barrie reunion, anyone?
Do you think Girard is not as good as we originally thought and should be moved?— jake (@jake99836335) December 22, 2019
No chance. G is signed to a very team-friendly deal and has proven to be more than just a serviceable defenseman.
What I think is happening or a lot of fans this season is simply a parallax shift — we’re seeing Girard a little differently this season because, well, he’s not the team’s most exciting defenseman anymore. Cale Makar has stolen a bit of his thunder, and I’m totally OK with that. Oh, the splendors of strong depth!
But believe it or not, Girard is actually on pace to break his points totals this year, whether it feels like he’s contributing that much or not. He’s just maybe a little less flashy this year than he has been in season’s past. Defensively, maybe we’ve seen a few more flaws than we have in the last couple of seasons, but that’s an entire team issue, and doesn’t rest solely on Girard. Defensively, Colorado is very much middle-of-the-pack this season and needs improvement in most defensive areas, whether it be PK, shots-allowed, etc.
Will timmins and Byram both be on the roster next season? Is there a chance either of them this year? Assuming they both are rostered next year, what two players will be out of the rotation? Should Avs condense roster in offseason to avoid that problem? What are they missing rn??— Ben Hedman (@HedmanBen) December 22, 2019
After starting the season on Colorado’s roster, I’d say there’s very little chance Timmins sees another call-up to the NHL this year. When I talk to Colorado Eagles management about him, they all agree that he needs work and Timmins, too, knows what he needs to work on. When I talk to him, he tells me he’s in no rush at all and his main focus is with the Eagles this season. And given what coach Bednar said of Timmins the other week, I’d say Avalanche management would agree that Timmins is still pretty raw and needs a little more molding in the AHL.
As for Bowen Byram, there’s almost zero chance he sees time in the NHL this year. For one, he can’t be called up until his season ends with the Vancouver Giants. Also, I don’t think Colorado’s management team will place the same value on Byram that they did on Makar last season and throw him into the NHL playoffs after his season ends. Or heck, maybe they do? But I don’t think it’d be worth burning a year of Byram’s entry-level deal like they did for Makar in the postseason last year. Byram’s a little more raw and isn’t quite the same level of generational talent that Makar was seen as entering in the league. Byram will need every bit of those three years, rather than just two years and a couple playoff series.
I’d say both guys surely compete for a roster spot out of camp next year. Unless Sakic goes out and gets another D-man at the trade deadline or during this impending offseason, the Avs will only have four D-men locked up for sure, with Nikita Zadorov and Ryan Graves as your restricted free agents, who may or more not be re-signed. The team probably re-signs Graves, and then possibly lets Z walk. That leaves a sixth and seventh D position open. We’ll see who gets it in camp, but maybe they give Byram one of the six and have Timmins as your seventh man.
To answer your question regarding what they’re missing, I’d say the Avs really have too many puck-moving offensive-minded defenseman on the docket. Ian Cole and Nikita Zadorov are they’re only “shutdown,” stay-at-home D. Both have been spotty this season and it may be a reason why the Avs are so middle-of-the-pack as far as penalty kill and goals against and many of the other defensive team stats. Instead, the Avs pretty much rely on scoring more goals than the other team, being one of the most high-octane offensive teams in the league.
Byram won’t be able to play in the AHL for two more years when he turns 20, which may be waiting too long in his development. That said, I think Avs management gives him a strong look out of camp next year and possibly gives him the nine-game trial run to see if he can hang. If not, he’ll spend the year in Vancouver of the WHL again next season. And by then, Timmins could be seeing some time in the interim.
Personally, what I really want to see is Sakic go out and get a defensive-defenseman to help aid the cause next season, but that’s just me.
Alright, enough about defensemen...
Does Landeskog truly deserve 1st Line kind of money on his next contract? Fans love him and he's the captain, but he's really just a solid top 6 guy, not top 2-3.— Light.through.the.veins (@VeinsLight) December 22, 2019
You have to pay your handsome captain pretty handsomely, that’s just how the cookie crumbles. They are the face, the spokesperson and the PR of your team, on and off the ice. They often do plenty of work in the community outside of the rink and that value goes into a captain’s contract, too, not just on-ice performance.
He’s not getting Nathan MacKinnon or Mikko Rantanen money, but he’s probably looking at somewhat of a decent pay raise from his current $5.5 million AAV. I’d say we’re looking at something north of seven million per year. I’d guess it’s a 7 x $7-8 million kind of deal.
Thoughts on Newhook getting cut from Canada’s roster? Was it deserved?— Zachel99 (@Zachel99) December 22, 2019
I think most people, analysts included, would tell you Alex Newhook was robbed of a spot on Canada’s roster. We all thought he played very very well.
By most accounts, Newhook was a standout in most of the games. Some verified accounts shared their thoughts on the snubbing: like this one and this one.
Our very own resident prospect aficionado, Lauren Kelly, shared her well-informed thoughts on MHH recently. Read all about it here:
Why do you think the Eagles have been able to develop goalies extremely well (props to Ryan Bach), but have not seen highly touted skaters such as Kaut, Bowers, etc. having the same success at the AHL or NHL level— Joe Luzinski (@luzinski04) December 23, 2019
That’s a good question. Part of it probably has to do with the development staff, as you allude with your props of Colorado Eagles goaltending coach Ryan Bach, and some of it has to do with the players themselves.
For Martin Kaut and Shane Bowers, they’ve had some tough breaks this year. Both were out for six and three weeks, respectively, with each suffering from some upper-body ailments. Since they’ve returned recently, this have been going much better for those two. Bowers has two goals and our assists in his seven games back and Kaut has a goal and two helpers in his last three games heading into the holiday break. Both are still very young and just a little bit behind in their development compared to guys like Logan O’Connor, who we’ve seen called up to the NHL a few times already.
Besides maybe Brink, do you agree that DU is lacking elite players like they used to have? Are there any in the pipeline?— Chris Hatfield (@nite_rox) December 23, 2019
I don’t think so. Denver currently has seven players on its roster that have already been drafted to the NHL. DU also just recently secured a big commitment from Antti Tuomisto, a hulking 6-foot-4 defensemen, who was just selected 35th overall by the Detroit Red Wings in the 2019 NHL draft.
Given DU’s track record as an elite collegiate developmental destination, I think the Pios will always attract some bigger names. Aside from the University of North Dakota, who has 10 NHL draft picks on its current roster, DU is tied for second in the NCHC for most NHL draftees playing for them. I think they’re right where they need to be in that regard.
What Avs related thing do you wish for for Christmas?— TJ (@jostcomphfoot) December 23, 2019
All I want for Christmas is everyone to stay healthy on the Avs.
...also, Dear Santa Sakic, I would like a big, physical top-four defenseman for Christmas.
Scott, who is most definitely on the ‘nice’ list
Not technically a question, but still worthwhile:— BKS (@gusbeansjr) December 22, 2019
Describe each of the Avs starters as a Christmas present we might find under our tree.
Nathan MacKinnon is Ralphie’s Red Ryder BB Gun from “A Christmas Story” — objectively the coolest gift.
Mikko Rantanen is like a shiny new Schwinn bicycle complete with the bell.
Gabe Landeskog is like the Leg Lamp from “A Christmas Story.”
Sam Girard would have to be like the Talkboy Kevin gets from “Home Alone 2.”
Philipp Grubauer is the $100 Visa Gift Card your cool uncle sent you in the mail.
And Cale Makar is like the adorable puppy that automatically wins best present no matter what else was gifted. Doesn’t matter if there’s a brand new car with an oversized bow on top in the driveway. Puppy Makar is still better.
More questions, comments or concerns? Hit me up on Twitter anytime @0ffScottFree. See you next Tuesday!