With Peter Forsberg and Adam Foote back in town, it looked like the Colorado Avalanche was on their way to a serious Cup run. The remarkable comeback of Jose Theodore’s play in the second half of the season, and in the first round of the playoffs, the Avs were definitely one of the favorites to win it all.
But with injuries of Paul Stastny, Peter Forsberg, Ryan Smyth, Wojtek Wolski and Marek Svatos, and going against the President Trophy winning Detroit Red Wings, their Cup dreams were shattered.
Now all there’s left are a lot of questions for the Colorado Avalanche organization.
Will the injury prone Peter Forsberg attempt to come back for one last year? Despite missing most of his games, there’s no doubt that a Forsberg on the ice makes your team better. Just look at the Avs record with and without him. But is it worth the risk? Does he have it in him?
What about Jose Theodore? Since he was traded from Montreal to Colorado, he has been struggling. Nowhere close to that Hart Trophy season that got him his hefty $6 Million salary. Fighting for his #1 job with Peter Budaj, Theodore shocked the hockey world and had a remarkable second half of this past season. He kept the Avalanche’s playoff dreams alive during the team’s run. Against the Wild in the first round, he stood on his head and looked like MVP material. But with a long break, the case of the flu and a Detroit Red Wings team that haunt goalies everywhere, Theodore crumbled, being pulled several times.
Can the Colorado Avalanche take a gamble on this former Hart Trophy winner? No doubt he will have to take a hefty pay-cut to stay in Denver. And if the Avs decide to let him go, can they rely on Peter Budaj? Or will they have to look for a new #1 goalie?
However, the most important question mark for the Avalanche is if the heart and soul of the team, the Captain, will they be with or without him? Joe Sakic, 38 years old, missed 38 games this past season with a hernia injury. No doubt losing him to retirement with leave a HUGE hole in the line-up, in the locker-room, and in the hearts of every hockey fan around. We are all hoping he returns, because despite his age, he is still one of the most exciting players to watch. And every fan in Canada wishes he hangs in there until the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, BC.
Coach Joel Quenneville is also a question mark. General Manager Francois Giguere will have to decide if he wants him back, or if the team needs a new direction. Rumors have been swirling about the likeliness of former Avalanche superstars Raymond Bourque, or even Patrick Roy would candidates for to be behind the bench. Is the NHL ready for Coach Roy?
As you see many question marks for the Colorado Avalanche, but that isn’t all. Unrestricted Free-Agents include Joe Sakic, Jose Theodore, Peter Forsberg, Adam Foote, Andrew Brunette and John-Michael Liles. Marek Svatos and Wojtek Wolski lead the class of Restricted Free-Agents for the Avalanche.
By the start of the next season, the Colorado Avalanche could look completely different. Changes are coming in the Rocky Mountains. Who will stay, who will go, and who will come?
As an Avalanche fan, I would like to wish General Manager Francois Giguere good luck!