Colorado Avalanche Need Sustained Success to Make Rebuild Stick

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 02: Erik Johnson
DENVER, CO - JANUARY 02: Erik Johnson /
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colorado avalanche
TORONTO, ON – JANUARY 22: Gabriel Bourque /

Further Rebuilding vs Stalling Again

My first question was what the Colorado Avalanche needed to do in order to further their rebuilding rather than stall — or relapse — again.

My former co-editor, Ross Sellers, had the following insight:

I think the Avs stay the course, the rebuild is in full throttle mode right now, and they have the necessary assets to ensure that it continues according to plan. The only thing they could do is sell off assets like Blake Comeau and Nail Yakupov for a couple more extras. At this point, Yak is probably the only one to get dealt at the deadline though — if a team wants him.

Sellers was the only one on the sell assets train for this question. In fact, another Ross, current contributor Ross Kleppe, was for maintaining the status quo:

Honestly, keep playing the way they are. This team is head and shoulders farther along than anyone anticipated and being in the playoff race right now is huge for their development. There is nothing worse than playing a bunch of meaningless games like they did last season, and this season they’ve done a complete 180. High intensity, playoff atmosphere games will do wonders for this young team.”

Another current contributor, Tom Janz, also spoke for staying the course:

I think the biggest two parts of the rebuild have taken place already with the shedding of several veterans throughout 2017, and the Matt Duchene trade. I think the key, at this point, is to let the highly touted prospects develop, rather than rushing them to fill current holes in the lineup. If a player, such as Cale Makar is ready, great! If not, let him get better at the NCAA level.”

A former contributor, Mark Kinz, offered some in-depth advice:

Fundamentally, the team needs to continue to grow its stable of prospects. While the current roster is impressive, management can’t forget the lessons of the past, where this team has severely lacked any sort of a sustainable farm system. Ideally, no draft picks get traded away at the deadline or draft. Keep the youth movement alive!

“On a more immediate level, the team has to be thinking about their goaltending situation at this point. Varly keeps getting hurt, Spencer Martin hasn’t come close to reaching his potential, and Andrew Hammond was a cap dump who will likely leave in UFA at the end of the year. Jonathon Bernier’s current stretch of games is impressive, but he’s had a history of inconsistency in the past. If the team can sign him to a 2-3 year extension as a backup, that will provide some stability as they reevaluate the Semyon Varlamov situation. It’s a little weird that goaltending has become an area of concern for this team, but Varly’s health problems are definitely an issue.

To my mind, everyone who answered this question made valid points. I think everyone agrees that we want to keep developing the youth, we don’t want to take on any more veterans, and we don’t give up any draft picks at the deadline.

As I’ve said before, I’m of two minds about making the playoffs this season. Yes, they’re fun. More importantly, as Kleppe pointed out, some high-octane playoff games would be great for the youngsters’ development.

On the other hand, I don’t want the Avs to get ahead of themselves again. They’re playoff contenders, not Cup contenders. Therefore, it would be an absolute disaster to try and pick up a few win-now pieces at the expense of the future.

On the flip side, if deals like Sellers is suggesting can be made for some picks and prospects, I’d love to see them make the deal. (Though I’d hate to lose Teri-Yaki.)