Colorado Avalanche Late Night: Roy, Duchene, & Draft Odds


It’s another edition of late night Colorado Avalanche talk. A few things to cover tonight, including Patrick Roy making waves on the radio this morning, Matt Duchene hitting 20 goals, and the Avalanche jockeying for position in the NHL standings… draft position that is.

Without further delay, tighten your snuggies. It’s time for some Cotts Thoughts.

On Patrick Roy

Patrick Roy made his weekly appearance on 104.3 The Fan this morning, and with it he sparked a lot of Twitter conversation. The two points Roy made that brought the most heat were: 1. The Avalanche roster is good enough as is (if it weren’t for all the injuries). 2. The Avalanche mantra is to get bigger and faster. Roy believes this is how you compete with the West.

Let’s start with the injury comment. I think that this is an example of Roy picking a very clear and concise “excuse” for why the team underperformed this season. It’s easy to say, yeah… I think our team is good enough to win, but losing MacKinnon, Johnson, McGinn, etc really short-wired our season.

I know a lot of fans want Roy to go into specific details. They want Roy to highlight specific flaws with this team, that we, the fans are certain exist.

I just don’t think this is realistic. I personally have a hard time judging Roy by anything he says on radio, because his words are going to be so carefully chosen. Is the personnel on the Avalanche defense questionable right now? Sure. I think most fans, hockey experts, and casual observers don’t have much of a problem with that statement.

I applaud Roy for choosing not to point that out on the radio. He has always had the approach that he has his player’s backs, and is in this thing with them. Bashing his guys for thousands of listeners to hear is counterproductive. And it accomplishes nothing…

I know as a fan it’s hard to be left in the dark. But ultimately, I don’t think what Roy says really matters all that much, because I think he is smart enough to choose what he says in public carefully. Behind closed doors, I think Roy probably knows of the areas he wants to improve. To me, I’ll judge him based on the roster decisions he makes this summer. I think this summer will be telling, and maybe there were some red flags in his interview. I’m still hoping that Roy is just protecting his players by playing the injury card, and will still go out and look to improve the roster.

On to point number two, Roy has said he wants to target a very specific type of player. Roy says he wants this team to be big and fast.

I think overall it’s a sound plan. The West has a lot of teams who play an aggressive, in-your-face style. Being hearty and quick enough to stand up to that is probably a necessary trait for the team to have.

When looking for hockey players, you generally want size, speed, and skill. It’s hard to find players with all three of those things, so generally you are sacrificing one area to fill your quota on the other two. I’m fine with the Avalanche getting bigger and faster. I just hope that we don’t sacrifice too much in the skill department to make it happen.

Tyson Barrie and Matt Duchene are two of the only three players on the team under six-foot tall, yet they are also two of the most talented. Joey Hishon is the third, and I think Roy has shown a significant prejudice against Hishon, because he lacks size.

To me, just as important as the size of the body is the size of the heart. Hishon seems like a guy who plays with a big heart, and he has plenty of skill to go along with it. I think falling in love with size can be a dangerous game. The Avs are already a big team, and I don’t see “playing big” as a real weakness. I think the inability to transition the puck out of their zone and through the neutral zone is a far more glaring shortcoming with this team.

There seem to be a lot of people who are 100% Roy no matter what, and some who are really questioning his personnel decisions. I find myself somewhere in the middle, but in the end, I’m much more of a prove it guy. I want to see results before I believe in something or start to doubt. I think asking questions is a good thing, but in doing so, you still have to have a little faith.

On Matt Duchene

Number 9 may not be having the statistical season he was hoping for, but Matt Duchene hit the 20-goal mark last night in San Jose. It’s the 4th time in 6 seasons that Dutchy has reached 20 goals (the two he missed were lockout/injury shortened).

It is also significant, because it means Duchene has finally equalized his number of posts hit this season (I’m making this up). Seriously though, if he could iron-out his tendency to hit post, Duchene would be well on his way to a 40 goal season I think. See what I did there… iron-out… get the posts (iron) out of his life. Okayyyy.

On Draft Odds

  • Current draft position: 9th overall
  • Current chance at McDavid: 5%

The Avs losing to the Sharks actually saved them from jumping San Jose in the reverse-standings. The Sharks now sit 3 points clear of the Avalanche.

I am not going to say I openly root for the Avalanche to lose. I want them to play well and win every game that they can. However… at this point, if they happen to lose a few games, it really benefits them.

A few spots different in the draft can make a huge difference. Dougie Hamilton and Jonas Brodin were taken with the consecutive picks prior to Duncan Siemens being drafted by the Avs. I’m not counting Siemens out yet, but I’m sure if given the choice of one of those other two guys, the Avalanche would jump on it.

The Columbus Blue Jackets are charging hard with 8 straight victories, and now only trail the Avalanche by two points as well. It’s a wacky system, but the Avs actually might do themselves a favor if they slump a bit these final few games.

Next: Iginla Deserves More

More from Mile High Sticking