Colorado Avalanche Need Some Big Changes

joe acheeContributor IDecember 3, 2008

Sakic is out now at least six weeks.

Tucker is still out for a while.

The Avs have been injury-prone for the past few seasons. They have a lot of firepower but no desire to fire.

First and foremost, I think Colorado needs to re-evaluate their coaching staff. Granato can still work well for them, but they need better defensive and special-teams coaching.

Seriously, look at that roster. Even with some big guns out, they should never be struggling on the power play. The penalty kill isn't bad. But it isn't great either. Maybe they should take a chapter out of the St. Louis Blues' playbook.

The other thing, at least in my opinion, is this team needs to stop completely with chipping/dumping the puck in. Like, 100 percent stopping. That method of playing, I don't care what team does it, is absolutely stupid.

They want to make a line change? Have someone carry the puck in. Let them shoot. Best-case senario, they get a goal. The goalie could also stop the shot, and freeze the puck. There is your line change right there.

You are going to have your line changed for the most part by then anyway. Why on earth would you give the other team the puck so they can come on the ice with fresh skaters? Take a chance.

I have seen over the past couple seasons where Colorado should have had at least a dozen shorthanded goals. But no! Far be it for them to change from a tactic that has never really worked well.

But enough of that. I feel that the Avs need some player changes as well. Let's look at forwards.

Tyler Arnason is big on my list as someone who could be traded. He is a skilled young player, but at the hit to the cap that he draws, plus the facts that he will always be a third- or fourth-line player on this club and he never has a steady set of wingers, I would say deal him out. There are other skilled players around the league that could match him, but the bonus of coming in much cheaper.

Another forward that could go is Cody McCormick. I love the Codys and think they work well together, but I just feel that McCormick is not what this team needs. They already have agitators that also can provide scoring. McCormick rarely, if ever does this. He is not a big component of the power play or penalty kill either, which decreases his value to the team.

The last forward, in my opinion, is David Jones. I know, he has picked it up lately. But unless he is set up nicely for a shot, he is terrible. He has a hard time maintaining control of the puck. He is a big kid, and yet the smallest of players strip him of it everytime he enters the zone.

They let him play hoping he will get better, and fill the void left by Andrew Brunette—but let's face facts, David Jones will never be that type of player. If the Avs want a power forward, then they should go out and get someone who has proven to be a power forward.

On to defense. Colorado's defense has potential, but aside from their coaching, they could use some changes as well. First on my list, John-Michael Liles. Terrible last season up until the trade deadline. He has not lived up to the potential, and yet Colorado felt the need to reward him with a hefty four-year contract.

I don't think he was worth the money, and this year he has not been a fore-runner for the defense. He still has high value, but its not with the Avs. He remains inconsistant for this team, and that is not something Colorado can afford to have right now.

Another player on defense, is Scott Hannan. Scott Hannan filled his role fairly well last season for the Avs, but then they went out and bolstered the D. I don't think that Hannan, again, is another player that the Avs need. At least as far as his price is concerned. He is good on the PK, but not a value much on the PP. With many trade rumors involving defenseman lately, Hannan could be a potential trade bait.

As for goaltending, Budaj and Raycroft could still work well for the Avs. Budaj just needs to be consistent. He needs an offense that does their job (which has also been dry for the most part, lately), and his defense needs to not give up so many shots. Clark is a league leader for blocked shots.

But that is because other teams use the Avs as a shooting gallery. They need to tighten up their defense for Budaj and Raycroft to play well. Both goalies are in a contract year, so it will be interesting to see if they get dealt.

I can see both going, or both staying.


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