Welcome Back, For this blog i wanted to follow a similar template that i came up with las..."/> Welcome Back, For this blog i wanted to follow a similar template that i came up with las..."/>

Avs Fans Share Thoughts


Welcome Back,

For this blog i wanted to follow a similar template that i came up with last year before the 2010-2011 season began, were i asked fellow fans some questions about the team and awaited their response’s. The last year post was really long because i had about 10 questions and 5-6 people answering every question.

So this year i decided to write up 10 questions and find 10 fellow Avaholics and then draw from a hat which person got which question to answer, and i have to say i have gotten some great answers from my twitter friends.

On the panel this year are the following people and their twitter names (follow them, they are awesome): Matt Jordan – @infamousmj, Aaron Musick- @Avalangelist, Austin Snow- @asnowavs,  Taylor Rhodes- @zatren6, Cheryl Bradley- @bchnsnwgirl, Chad Lysohirka- @cl525, Jaye Horbay- @horbayj, Eugene Unick- @optimusstrider, Jim Tinder- @MHH_freak, and Mike Verminski- @mverminski.

I thank all of the above for helping me out with this write up.

I dont have my book with the order of the questions so im just going to put them all down in no particular order, but like i said above, i drew from a hat and didnt pick specific questions for certian people.


1)Who becomes the new captain of the Avs this season and why?

I thought Erik Johnson was the perfect mold of a captain last year, but after reading Dater’s article in the Post today (link that), my thoughts have been confirmed.
The guy genuinely cares about the team and wants to take them to the next level. I love how he took an exception to what Washington fans and the media were dubbing a “guaranteed lottery pick.” Many players, Paul Stastny comes to mind, would simply shrug that off and say “well they can believe what they want and we’ll just have to prove them wrong”, which is the “right answer” in most hockey circles. But it lacks the passion and fire that comes across in Johnsons demeanor towards the subject. He reminds me of Chris Pronger.

So I think he gets it. Duchene is still young, and Stastny is going to be on the trading block and rumor mill all season, something you don’t want your captain to be involved in.

Beyond those two, I can see Hejduk getting the “C” and handing it to Duchene when he retires in another 1-3 years.

But if I’m Avs management and staff, I don’t see how you pass up giving the captaincy to someone who wants to and can be a leader for your team, especially when he was basically ordained as the cornerstone of the franchise in bringing him over from St. Louis. – Austin Snow

2) Varlamov! Is he the answer to the Avs goaltending problem?

Since July 1st, 2011, the day the Colorado Avalanche traded away a first round and second round draft pick for Semyon Varlamov I became a believer that this team wanted to compete.  Through Twitter, Facebook and various other media oulets, I’ve openly been boasting about how excited I am to see Varlamov in an Avalanche sweater and been trying to quiet the critics and defend the future of the Colorado Avalanche.Semyon Varlamov is young and his play is more mature than his young age of 23 suggests.  Semyon’s experience, combined with a fantastic Stanley Cup winning goaltender and soon to be incredible mentor, Jean-Sebastien Giguere, firmly solidifes belief that the Colorado Avalanche wants Varlamov to grow and develop into the future face of the Colorado Avalanche.  The team in burgundy made an incredible decision in picking up a young, exciting goaltender to carry this team for years to come.In 2009, a very young Semyon Varlamov’s hockey play grew in leaps in bounds because of his great play in the Stanley Cup Playoffs relieving Jose Theodore for the better of two Playoff rounds.  This experience helped Varlamov grow immensly as a goaltender and his play reflects that completely.  That experience as well as the experience of spending time with Jose Theodore (and now JS Giguere) will do nothing but boost his experience and on-ice ability.

As mentioned above, he’s very young but he knows how to play the game.  His quickness on his feet and his exciement for the game will help propel this team into a Playoff contender.  A young team needs a young goaltender to have the ability to grow as a team and the Colorado Avalanche hit a home run in acquiring Semyon.  – Chad Lysohirka

3) Is the team becoming a team that the fans will show up to watch?

Well, the team is taking steps in that direction, but will they be there this year?  Hard to say.  There still seems to be a lack of the offensive starpower and creativity that was there in the last 90’s and early 2000’s when the AMP line and Joe Sakic were lighting the lamp, but the potential is there.  It’s hard to predict if it will happen this year, but if I had to say, they will do better, if for no other reason than lack of star power from the other winter sports in Denver this year, with the Nuggets parting ways with Carmelo Anthony last year, and with the Broncos in a rebuild as well.  There is reason for optimism, as with all the young players on the team, they have a chance to grow in the city the way the previous generation of stars did.  Matt Duchene, Ryan O’Reilly, Erik Johnson, Semyon Varlamov and eventually Stefan Elliot and Gabriel Landeskog will provide fans with an opportunity to connect, and some have already taken that step.  Matt Duchene is the most notable Avalanche player on Twitter, and his interactions with fans are a great, easy way for him to connect with the fan base.  Erik Johnson is a newer player to the fan base, but if he plays to his potential, he’ll make the old guard of fans remember Rob Blake.  It’s going to be a hard sell for a while, as the high ticket prices combined with the lackluster product the past few years have taken their toll on the fans showing up to the games, but the Avs marketing department and the players themselves seem to have recognized that there is an opportunity right now with the NBA locked out, the NFL just ending theirs and the Rockies in a free fall and are trying to capitalize (as pointed out by Aaron Musick).  If the Avs start hot this season, and can get the fans excited, they have a chance to accelerate the process of bringing them back to the games, but I have a feeling we are still 2 to 3 seasons away from consistent sell outs again, but it’s better to see that possibility happening, than the light years away it seemed at the end of the past season. – Eugene Unick

4) Of all the players that have departed the Avs since trade deadline, which one will the team miss the most?

Well that’s obvious: Stewart. Stewart is a power forward who can skate well and shoot even better. It was a high price to pay for Erik Johnson but one that should have been paid.

The Avs needed a leader on defense, a guy who can log major minutes and they got it. Now, they weren’t going to get him for cheap and Stewart was bound to be the asking price.

That said, it was sad to see him go and the Avs will miss him the most. – Aaron Musick

5) What’s does your opening game roster look like? 12 forwards,6 defense and 2 goalies.

Mueller – Stastny – Jones
Landeskog – Duchene – Hejduk
Lindstrom – O’Reilly – Kobasew
Galiard – McClement – WinnikDefense:
Johnson – Hejda
Quincey – O’Byrne
O’Brien – GaunceGoalie:
Varlamov (starter)

It’s not going to stay like that for long, though. You know the Avs and injuries. lol. Lindstrom is my only big question mark. Since I haven’t seen him play much, it’s kind of a crap shoot. I think the Avs will take a chance on him, though. Otherwise, I’d expect Hishon to be there.- Cheryl Bradley

6) Place in order your prediction on the end of the year northwest division standings. Where do the 5 teams sit and why?

Well you have given me the question I have been mulling over the last couple weeks myself and to me it isn’t an easy one.  Canucks have become fairly worse, I think the Avs were already contenders when healthy and have not only improved but by a fairly large margin. You have Edmonton and Wild who have added a pieces to their puzzle that make them more complete teams plus Edmonton’s young talent growing into their own and then their is the flames that will most likely just play spoiler to some ones playoff hopes.  There is a few variables and uncertainties to take into consideration.  How big of a fluke was Kesler’s stats last year, how will Duchene, O’Reilly, Johnson, Landeskog, Hishon, Hall, Eberle, Omark, and RNH all grow into the NHL.  With the additions of Heatley and Setoguchi will the Wild finally embrace an offensive game plan and stop with the “playing not to lose” mentality. 

Here is my perdictions:

The Avalanche and Canucks spend most of the year battling it out for that top spot due to Kesler falling back to earth and loss of Ehrhoff, Torres and Glass as key role players will competing with Players on the rise with Duchene ROR and Johnson held up by a solid rebuilt backend.  While I think the Nucks will edge it out at the end of the season beating out the Avs by less that 6 points.  The last 3 are all up in the air for me Edmonton I think is the Avs 2 years ago and could very well sneak into the playoffs at 8th, the wild have picked up some offensive threats in Heatley and Setoguchi and will be challenging the Oilers for that position but Oilers hold on in 3rd in NW with Wild at 4th and Flames in 5th close behind also.

1 Nucks

2 Avs

3 Oilers

4 Wild

5 Flames

I think this will be a close division and no one will run away with it this year.- Jim Tinder

7) The organization has a ton of one war contracts signed to the players this season. Do you think they are worried about the new CBA next year or do they have other plans?

I think it’s partly the CBA and I also think this organization has a cautious nature. If you look at some of these cap hits,  like David Jones, locking him up to more than one year wouldn’t be disastrous even if the CBA did turn out to be an issue. I think really the thing is that most of these players signing deals had one or two good years and they don’t want to commit to anything longer term when they could flop a little. Look at the guys that have signed in the last couple years: Quincey, Jones, Mueller, Yip, and on. These guys are young and have one good season or two under their belts (or are just uncertain in general, in Mueller’s case). The anomalies came this offseason with Hejda (he’s established in the league) and Varlamov (he was a big gamble anyway – how do you not lock him up for more than two years after we gave up what we did?) So really I think it’s more that this organization is a fan of “wait and see” contracts with their younger guys, who have yet to prove that they can be a consistently good player season after season after season.- Taylor Rhodes

8) Which new Av are you most excited to watch this year and why?

I have to say Landy. He’s supposed to be the next Peter Forsberg. I always love the power forwards.- Matt Jordan
9) Do you believe the Avs have done enough during free agency to make a playoff run this season?

I think the Avs have had a pretty successful offseason for sure. Greg Sherman brought in guys that fill positions in which the team was lacking, not only in playing ability, but in their character as well. Semyon Varlamov should fit the number one role nicely and Jean-Sebastien Giguere should be a great mentor for Varlamov and he is also a very solid goaltending in case Varlamov gets on a cold streak. The only issue I see with the goaltending is that both have health issues which could cause huge problems as the season goes on, but I guess we will have to wait and see.

I don’t know much about Jan Hejda or Chuck Kobasew, but both men have been around for a while and will at least add some experience to an overall young Avalanche team and hopefully help mentor some of the younger players and sort of show them the ropes.

It’s hard to predict now if the Avs will make a playoff run because a lot can happen. I think if the Avs stayed healthy last season they would have slid into the 7th or 8th playoff spot, but injuries really hurt them. If they get Mueller back for this season and the core of the team stays healthy I definitely think that the offseason acquisitions will have a huge effect on this team making the playoffs. Of course, other teams in the Western Conference made some moves too so anything can happen which is what makes hockey such an exciting sport. Any team has a chance to make the playoffs.- Mike Verminski

10) Of all the young Prospects in the Avs system, which one’s do you feel make the team this season?

Of all the prospects in the Avs system, I think it is the most recently drafted Gabriel Landeskog. Obvious answer I know, but we’ve all seen it, from former coaches to analysts to video, this kid is NHL ready. I don’t want to anoint him default 2nd line winger before seeing how he plays against the big boys. I also think Joey Hishon (barring any setback in his post concussion symptoms) has a great shot, providing he makes a switch to wing. His stellar regular season – 87 pts in 50 games put him first on the Attack – and OHL playoffs  – 24 points, tied for first with teammate Robby Mignardi –  showed Rick Pracey wasn’t all that crazy when they took him as their 17th pick in the 2010 draft. I think beyond Landeskog, it’ll be a fight for the rest of the forward group in camp. This team is incredibly deep at centre and right wing. Do you really see anyone nabbing Duchene’s second line centre role or Hejduk’s first line wing? didn’t think so.

Defence is where things really get interesting. If you have read Adrian Dater’s blog you would see that he’s incredibly high on Stefan Elliott..simply because of his +/- of +62. The rest of the line, 30g 51a for 81pts is damn impressive especially being a defenceman on what was a pretty stacked Saskatoon Blades team (shout out to the home town!) I really think that his offensive upside alone is going to put him ahead of guys like Kyle Cumiskey and Matt Hunwick, both capable defencemen, but in a 6 or 7th role at best. I see Elliott being mentored by a guy like Jan Hedja if he makes the Avs out of camp, simply as a guy who can show him how to expand his physical game. Tyson Barrie is another D prospect that has been generating buzz. He’s been putting up solid numbers for the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets and made the Canadian World Jrs team this year. In the games I’ve watched, he’s got great wheels and knows what to do with the puck once he gains the zone (unlike Cumiskey) but I don’t see him making the cut. Worst case scenario is that Lake Erie is going to have a killer 1/2 punch on D this season, and barring injury, we might see another ‘Kevin Shattenkirk’ type season for one or both of these guys.- Jaye Horbay

Once again, Thanks to all that took time to help me with this. It was fun last year when i did it and i hope you all enjoy it again this season.

Thanks for reading,

Marc Parsons

twitter- Mercus24