April 27, 2011
2010-2011 Avalanche Season Review

I know that this is very late but I figured better late than never, right? Right! Well, here goes. One reason why this is so late is because A) I’ve been really busy to write stuff and B) The team’s last couple months were a big drag. Anyways, onto the review!

The first month and a half of the season, I, and I’m sure every other Colorado Avalanche fan out there, was leaping for joy. The team was playing so well and I couldn’t have been more proud. However, when I heard coach Joe Sacco’s plan to give backup goaltender Peter Budaj more playing time this year, I was unsure of it at first. I thought to myself “this could only go two ways”. Either it would be good for Craig Anderson to get the rest he deserved from the season before or it would be really bad for Anderson and make each game very confusing. Apparently, the latter was the end result. THE TEAM DID NOT START FALLING APART AFTER MANY INJURIES. It happened before half the team was unavailable. So, please don’t blame the year on just the injuries. I actually went to the team website and looked at the roster to see just how many of the staff missed a reasonable amount of time, and I think it came out to like 16 or 17 players. Just so you know, the team can only have 25 players (including goalies) as an active roster. So yeah, you do the math. The Avs did rank second in man-games lost this season, obviously a pretty big factor in the continuation of the team’s fall. Our team captain, Adam Foote, missed games at multiple times during the season. Other key players included David Jones, Milan Hejduk, Ryan O’Reilly, Paul Stastny, Brandon Yip, John-Michael Liles, and Craig Anderson. Those people came back from injuries. The ones that had season ending injuries included TJ Galiardi, Tomas Fleischmann, Kyle Quincey, and Peter Mueller (injured during pre-season, never played a single game during the regular season).

CALL-UPS AND TRADES

So yes, injuries did have an effect on the team. Another thing caught my attention too. When the Avs called up forward Greg Mauldin for a month or so, I thought he played very well and was a good asset to the team. However, once they sent him down, they never brought him back up (which was a real shame). Another strike against them. They traded a prospect to the Bruins for defenseman Matt Hunwick, another bad decision. I didn’t like Hunwick from the start, and still don’t. I hope they get rid of him this off-season. At first, I almost hated the team for trading Chris Stewart and Kevin Shattenkirk. Stewart (also missed time this season) had an amazing year last year, and in just his second full season in the league, he gets traded. I don’t get it. Shattenkirk, who I thought was our best defenseman by far, gets traded in his ROOKIE season. Again, why? Nonetheless, it brought over Erik Johnson from St. Louis, and he’s young too. I think if he works hard he could be a good addition to the Avs (with Foote’s recent retirement). Ryan O’Byrne, I did not favor at first. But looking back at his play with the team, I do. He’s a good, tough, gritty D-man that could be helpful for us short-term. Brian Elliot (G) I would say goodbye to next year. Tomas Fleischmann was acquired from Washington for D-man Scott Hannan and made an immediate impact. It seemed like he could play alongside anybody on the team. I like him a lot. I hope he stays for a few years.

NEXT SEASON

A lot of people want the Avs to go all out for a goaltender for next year, seeing as how both Peter Budaj and Brian Elliot (acquired from Ottawa for Anderson) will be free agents. I like that idea. I say go for an awesome goalie, we really need one. As far as defenseman go, O’Byrne and Hunwick are free agents. For forwards, David Jones, TJ Galiardi, Milan Hejduk, and Tomas Fleischmann are all going to be free agents too. I love Jones to death, he had another great season. Galiardi is awesome as long as he stays healthy. Milan Hejduk is Milan Hejduk year in and year out, he’s just the best. I pray to God the team signs him for at least two more years. Like I said, I like Tomas Fleischmann and what he brings offensively to the team.

Joe Sakic has returned to the team as the Assistant Governor or something of that nature. I believe he is going to be key to the team’s construction over the next few months and even into next season.

CAPTAIN?

There has been quite a bit of talk about this subject. Who is going to be the Avalanche captain for next season? I like the idea of John-Michael Liles, but I’m not sure if the team will do it. I mean, he’s never even worn the ‘A’ on his sweater yet. Paul Stastny is another possible candidate, but I don’t know if the team will take that route either. I can definitely see Erik Johnson wearing an ‘A’ next year for sure, for some odd reason. It would be nice (assuming he signs with the team) to see Hejduk wear the ‘C’. He deserves it for sure, but I don’t know if he wants that kind of leadership. However, he does sport the ‘A’ already. I think the last possible person to consider (assuming they don’t go for an “outside hire”) is Ryan O’Reilly. He shows great skill and hockey sense and could be a potential leader for the team.

  1. allthingsavs posted this