In a trade deadline that saw very few movers and shakers it is hard to go after a team as a winner or loser since very few teams made changes but personally I think the Avalanche were a team who should devoted the day to getting something done. When the Avs traded Chris Stewart and Kevin Shattenkirk on February 16th they were setting a precedent that the rest of this season will be devoted to change. Now I myself have been an Avs fan since five years old and in my 15 years as a fan John Michael Liles is one of my all time favorite Avs so trust me I do not feel JML needed to leave, in fact I don’t think that was the change that was needed at all. The Avalanche were in a position of power today despite their lowly record. They were one of the few sellers in the NHL and they had their chance to benefit.
In my opinion the Avalanche standing pat today means Shattenkirk and Stewart were traded for no reason. If they continued the turn around by making more deals at the deadline one could say they have their mind set on next year and a continuing rebuild. Instead they are keeping the squad together and making all the fans wonder “why make the trade on the 16th?” All I can say is the Avs management felt the heat from the fans who were calling for a defensive defenseman so they made a quick decision that they thought would appease fans. Now the 2011 Trade Deadline may make or break this team looking toward the future and many questions must be answered.
Where is John Michael Liles emotionally? Liles has been involved in trade talks since he has come into the NHL and it may be a large reason he has had trouble putting up the breakthrough year. This season was especially hard on Liles as Adrian Dater, from the Denver Post, reported Liles seemed depressed and mentally lost of late. Has Liles finally had it with all the trade speculation? Is he burnt out from the stress or will he breakout and show Greg Sherman he made the right decision in keeping him, again?
Will Tomas Fleischmann and Peter Mueller play next season? The health of both of these players is a huge question mark but if they are healthy they can be huge pieces of the Avalanche success. Mueller hasn’t played at all this season but has another year on his contract, and Fleischmann played well after his trade from the Capitals but is a UFA after the season. If Fleischmann is healthy enough to play next year I do believe the Avalanche resign him at a discounted price considering the severity of his health issues. Mueller on the other hand is a mystery. I met him in person a little over a month ago and he was in good spirits and expects to return, I expect the Avalanche to shut him down for the rest of this season since they are out of playoff contention but I hope he is on the ice to start the 2011-2012 NHL season.
Will Joe Sacco return next season? No. Ok I can offer up a little more than that. Greg Sherman making no deals at the deadline shows he doesn’t put to much blame on the players on the ice and you know he isn’t putting the blame on himself so that leaves Sacco. These guys just don’t seem to play for Sacco, as one could see from the loss in Anaheim the players seemed to do what they want and were playing for each other not the coach. Whenever Sacco calls timeouts of late all the players seem to tune him out.
What will the Avalanche look like next season? This is my stab of the Avalanche Lineup with who I think they will resign (and assuming everyone is healthy:
This lineup is depending on many factors including Foote retiring, health, resigning, and offseason pickups. Other guys who may be in the lineup include: Holos, Cumiskey, Gaunce, Stoa, Dupuis, and the young guys: Hishon, Elliot, and Barrie. Health is the one place I can defend Sherman on moving Shattenkirk and Stewart because if you add those two to this health lineup things do seem to get crowded. Personally I don’t know what to think of the Avs chances going into next season but if this team is healthy I absolutely love their chances. I see Quincey coming back as a star next season and if Fleischmann and Mueller can return team will FEAR that #1 line.