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Twitter Tuesday: Is Shane Bowers the real deal? And, no, I still don’t know where Mikko Rantanen is...

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The Colorado Avalanche just keep finding new youngsters to get excited about

Calgary Flames v Colorado Avalanche - Game Three Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

The strength of the Avs...Shane Bowers is one of them

I’m going to go with he’s legitimately a breakthrough young player. After all, he’s a former first-round pick and you have to be at least decent to be one of those, right? This camp and preseason has proven that Shane Bowers — yet another piece in the “Great Sakic-ian Steal of 2017” that sent Duchene out to pasture while the Avs collected the likes of Sam Girard, Bowen Byram and the aforementioned Bowers — is really not too far off from the NHL after all.

The Avs are now a very deep team, and I think a lot of people are just now seeing that for the first time because, well, it’s the first time they’ve had the chance to. Bowers didn’t turn pro until late last season, joining the Colorado Eagles towards the end of March. That said, this preseason, the rookie tournament and training camp has really been his first taste of pro hockey, and Avalanche fans’ first chance to check him out. And so far the former first-round pick of the Ottawa Senators has not disappointed.

While he hasn’t gotten a ton of looks in the preseason, in his first taste of NHL exhibition action, Bowers notched two assists and recorded 18:27 of ice time, second among forwards, against the Minnesota Wild. He played again in the second game of the back-to-back against the Wild and was again a standout on the ice — which is saying quite a bit considering he was mixed in with a lineup that had the likes of Gabe Landeskog, Nazem Kadri, Andre Burakovsky and Joonas Donskoi.

The way he’s been playing, I’d expect Bowers to be one of the final cuts made from camp. He’ll challenge for an NHL spot in next season’s camp and he’ll more than likely make the team.

I think the team’s strength is what Sakic and Co. have tried so hard to build over the last few seasons. It’s the speed and youth of the team that will make the Avalanche a major threat this season for seasons to come. But perhaps its strength is also its biggest weakness. I think youth and inexperience could be a potential downfall of this year’s team.

That and perhaps the inability to score goals. While it is only the preseason, it is technically the only gauge we have to go by for this year’s team. The Avs have only netted six goals through four games of the preseason. Zero goals on 24 shots. One goal on 47 shots. Three goals on 33 shots. And two goals on 36 shots. That’s how Colorado’s first four games have gone so far. And dating back to the rookie tournament, the Avs are something like 0-for-38 on the power play this preseason. And before you pull out you pitchforks and torches, I know it’s just preseason...but still it’s the only candle I have to hold. This year’s Avalanche team is a fast, youthful, offensively-loaded team. If they can find a way to start converting on some chances, they could make a serious run.

See above

Listen, I really don’t know where Mikko is...

Probably hiking the Swiss Alps, enjoying some Swiss chocolate and practicing with SC Bern.

Sure, any team can make an offer sheet for Mikko Rantanen, and there really is no deadline to do so. I don’t think any teams can afford to make an offer for Rantanen, however, especially if he’s asking for Mitch-Marner money. It’s the Avs’ problem and no other team in the NHL is going to want to get their hands in it.

If an offer sheet is made — which won’t happen — the Avs have seven days to match it and they undoubtedly will, they’ve already said that.

If nothing happens then nothing happens and Rantanen will stay where he’s at and the Avs will go about the season in a Mikko-less manner. Contract disputes can sometimes take a whole season — I don’t think it’ll get to that point — but it’s certainly a possibility. There are no deadlines for agreements to be signed, unless an offer sheet is made for Rantanen by another team, in which case Sakic has seven days to match the offer.

All 31 teams operate under the league-mandated salary cap, which goes up each year to account for the rising cost of, well, pretty much everything. Holdouts, as we’re seeing currently with the Mikko Rantanen situation, are usually a result of a player over-valuing himself while the team under-values the player’s worth. At the end of the day it’s all about dollars, term and AAV. The hard part is finding the happy middle between organization and player and dollar, term and AAV.

Much like the Ryan O’Reilly situation in 2013, the Rantanen holdout is also due to money. Unfortunately for Sakic, Toronto — for some inexplicable reason — gave Mitch Marner enough money to stack high enough that it could reach the top of the CN Tower. And with the two RFA wingers having pretty comparable stats and similar value they bring to their respective teams, now it only seems fair that Rantanen gets a similar payout, right? That’s what Mikko and his agent are thinking at least. Sakic, on the other hand, would probably rather not sign their star winger to an eight-year, $10.5 million-plus per year contract when he knows exactly how much damage that could cause down the line. Guys like Gabe Landeskog and Cale Makar will probably seek very large raises in the coming seasons and if Mikko is locked down for $10.5 million-plus of that for the next few seasons it really handicaps the cap space and ability for Sakic to negotiate/pay his impending RFAs. For reference, Mikko’s agent said Mitch Marner’s contract is definitely a valid comparison ($10.9 million-plus per season), while reports from Ryan Calrk of The Athletic claim the team is offering somewhere around $8.4-8.75 per season.

If those reported numbers are true then there is quite a gap between what the team is willing to pay versus what Mikko is wanting to get paid. And thus you have a holdout.

So to answer your question, the owners don’t limit or set the cap that their team has, it’s solely the NHL’s doing. Holdouts are always a financial issue between the player and the team. It has almost nothing to do with ownership.

All this excitement around the Avs and I can’t watch it, and why are the Wild the way they are?

I have no idea. I don’t think there’s really any updates either. With the season now less than two weeks away, local Avs fans are in real danger of not seeing their team on television for the foreseeable future.

Ah yes, division rivalries are fun, eh? While it’s easy to hate and root against your intra-division foe, Avs fans sure have plenty of right to focus their animosity particularly towards the Minnesota Wild.

Dating back to their 2014 first-round playoff series, of which I think we all know how it ended, the Avs and Wild have since become a raucous rivalry. And it’s moments like this that add to the growing animosity….

And this...

What’s wrong with that Devan Dubnyk guy, anyway?

More questions? Hit me up on Twitter @0ffScottFree and I’ll see you next Tuesday!