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Patrick Roy/Joe Sakic GM Review: Year Two

AJ Haefele Avatar
June 5, 2015


Welcome back for the Year 2 Review of “Joe Sakic and Patrick Roy play GM!” If you missed yesterday’s breakdown, be sure to check it out here! As was the case yesterday, this breakdown features an average grade between all 6 BSN Avalanche writers. The draft is not graded because it is simply too early to accurately assess the quality of their work on draft day.

One last factor to consider is that this review does not feature any moves the team did not make, such as their failure to re-sign Paul Stastny last summer. This is only a breakdown of the moves the Avs actually did make. While there are plenty of solid grades on this list, the failures are high profile and played a significant role in the team’s struggles last season. Hopefully these moves serve as a learning curve for the Avalanche front office.

May 29, 2014 – Signed Samuel Henley – B-

There’s not a lot to dislike with the signing of “Big Sam” Henley. He’s a big body who plays a very heavy style and he gets after it on every shift. While he struggled with some injuries in his pro debut last year, Henley could be a 4th line center and penalty kill ace down the line.

May 29, 2014 – Signed Dennis Everberg – A

One of the stories of the season, Everberg made the opening night roster and showed himself to be wildly competent in all 3 zones and even began picking up penalty kill at the end of the season. While he showed the limitations in his offensive game, he has a future in the NHL as an effective bottom 6 player who pushes possession in the right direction.

May 29, 2014 – Signed Borna Rendulic – B+

Another of the European signings, Rendulic was off to a good start in Lake Erie before getting called up after a string of injuries to the Avalanche. The bad injury voodoo wouldn’t stop with Rendulic as shortly after becoming the first Croatian-born player to ever appear and score in the NHL, Rendulic suffered a broken leg that would effectively end his season. He should be a top 6 player in San Antonio next season and again provide the Avalanche with offensive depth when injuries occur.

May 29, 2014 – Signed Roman Will – B-

Of the three European signings last year, Will by far struggled the most with the adjustment to North America. After a solid showing in camp, Will would get lit up in the AHL and eventually find himself sent down to the ECHL’s Fort Wayne Komets. Slowly but surely Will turned things around and regained his confidence. With Calvin Pickard entrenched as the San Antonio likely starter and Spencer Martin set to make his pro debut, Will’s role in the organization already faces uncertainty.

June 19, 2014 – Re-signed Jamie McGinn to 2-year extension – A-

Another extension for a good price, there’s little to complain about as the versatile McGinn has appeared all over Colorado’s lineup and been effective at each stop. His penchant for scoring goals while providing physical play makes him a very important complementary piece for the Avalanche.

June 30, 2014 – Traded PA Parenteau/2015 5th round pick to MTL for Daniel Briere – D+

A trade that was billed as “acquiring veteran leadership” in the form of the battle-tested Briere, this unfortunately served as another example of atrocious asset management by the Avalanche front office. While Parenteau had fallen out of favor with Roy, he was still far too productive on a reasonable contract to jettison for such a paltry return. Feeling the need to also give up a draft pick just to get rid of Parenteau was simply salt in a gaping wound.

Briere was consistently scratched or played on the fourth line. Beyond the additional salary cap flexibility obtained this summer, there was no realistic upside to this deal.

July 1, 2014 – Re-signed Nick Holden to 3-year extension – C

A move based on the surprising efforts of Holden in a 54-game sample, this signing really isn’t a needle mover either way. Holden is perfectly cast as a competent-but-flawed 3rd pairing defenseman who can occasionally chip in offense and has impressive size on the defensive end. Were the blue line not already full of similarly flawed players, this contract extension would look much better.

July 1, 2014 – Signed Zach Redmond to 2-year deal – B+

Speaking personally here, I have no issues with this deal at all. Redmond took a few weeks to crack the lineup but once he did, he stayed. While injuries certainly aided his quest to be a lineup mainstay, Redmond’s impressive 20-point season in just 59 games played while average only about 17 minutes of ice time per game show what kind of efficient puck-mover he really is. A sub-million dollar contract for an in-his-prime, efficient 3rd pairing offensive defenseman is an absolute steal and represents one of the best value contracts of this front office’s tenure.

July 1, 2014 – Signed Jesse Winchester to 2-year deal – B

The BSN Avalanche staff was collectively sold on Winchester’s brief training camp and pre-season showings. Unfortunately his concussion woes cost him the entire season and he was unable to unseat Marc-Andre Cliche on the 4th line. If he gets healthy for next season, Winchester could very quietly be an important contributor. Either way, it’s hard to fault the Avalanche for making a smart, cheap depth signing and having it succumb to bad luck.

July 1, 2014 – Signed Jarome Iginla to 3-year deal – B+

A somewhat controversial deal giving the length, all Iginla did was come within 1 empty net goal on the final day of the season of producing the first 30-goal season for the Avalanche since Joe Sakic and Milan Hejduk accomplished the feat back in 2006. He was the team’s leading scorer and while the third year is still holding back the optimism in these grades, year one certainly went off without a hitch.

July 1, 2014 – Traded 2016 2nd round pick/2017 6th round pick to SJ for D Brad Stuart – C

Ask a lot of Avs fans where last season went wrong and a hearty handful of them will point to this transaction as one of the starting points. Stuart looked washed up and done for in his final days in San Jose, with fans literally throwing internet parties upon hearing the news of his trade. Patrick Roy immediately anointed Stuart as Erik Johnson’s running mate on the top pairing. That experiment was such a colossal disaster that it didn’t even last until November.

Stuart would finish the year paired with Nick Holden as the Avs blue line slowly morphed into the island of misfit reject toys towards the end of the season.

July 23, 2014 – Re-signed Ryan O’Reilly to 2-year extension – A

A seminal moment in Ryan O’Reilly’s career, this extension was the first time O’Reilly had agreed on a contract with the Avalanche. His previous foray into restricted free agency ended in an offer sheet from the Calgary Flames that was matched and he was about to enter the uncommon realm of team-elected salary arbitration in order to have his services secured for at least one more season but moments before the witching hour the two sides struck a deal.

Whether it ever happens again we have yet to see but for this particular transaction, the move was a good deal for both sides.

September 4, 2014 – Re-signed Tyson Barrie to 2-year extension – A-

This contract is amazing. I wish this contract was 10 years long. Instead, there’s only one year left on it but after seeing Barrie elevated to the upper echelon of point-scoring defensemen this season, the only argument is what variation of “A” this contract should be.

September 29, 2014 – Re-signed Cody McLeod to 3-year extension – D

Sigh. Of all the solid moves the team has made over the last two years, this move proves they still haven’t learned the folly of signing your most role players to multi-year contracts. While McLeod has become an institution of sorts in the Avalanche organization, a three year extension for a player whose game is already sharply on the decline is the kind of short-sighted move made under the guise of “leadership” and “loyalty” that limits the ability of the roster to significantly improve.

September 29, 2014 – Re-signed Brad Stuart to 2-year extension – F

Having obviously learned not a single thing from The Reto Berra Experience, the Avalanche yet again signed a player they overpaid to acquire in a trade with an overpayment in the form of a contract extension before the player ever played a meaningful game for the organization. Apparently a training camp and terrible pre-season was all the team needed to see from Stuart in order to extend his contract two more years at the same money he was making when he was an actual worthwhile NHL player.

Instead, Stuart went out and was statistically one of the worst defensemen in the NHL…and this extension hasn’t even kicked in yet. Awesome.

March 2, 2015 – Traded Michael Sgarbossa to ANA for Mat Clark – B-

A solid move at the trade deadline, the Avalanche turned a redundant player whose development had stalled into a bruising young defenseman with leadership for days who fills an important role on a minor league blue line. While Clark is unlikely to make an impact for the Avalanche, he is a legitimate AHL-level talent that provides stability and a steady hand for the kids coming straight from juniors to pro hockey.

March 2, 2015 – Traded Karl Stollery to SJ for Freddie Hamilton – B+

Another good depth move at the trade deadline, the Avalanche were able to flip an asset they had no interest in retaining beyond this season for a young player who can play limited NHL minutes in a pinch and be a leader on the AHL team in coming years. While it’s another move that may not necessarily bolster the NHL roster, the more legitimately good AHL players that can fill in at the NHL level means the more competitive the organization is as a whole. This trade was an excellent assessment of value.

March 2, 2015 – Traded Max Talbot (retained half salary) and Paul Carey to BOS for Jordan Caron, Ben Youds, and 2016 6th round pick – D+

Unfortunately after making two good trades on deadline day, the Avs couldn’t help themselves and made a move that could best be generously described as “questionable.” Had this trade not involved any retained salary, it could be passed off as a salary dump and a flier on a failed first round pick in Caron but unfortunately the Avalanche did agree to retain half of Talbot’s salary.

What they got in return was a 6th round pick next year, an AHL veteran in Youds, and Jordan Caron, who underwhelmed so much that he went from playing on Matt Duchene’s wing to playing 6 minutes a night in just 3 weeks. Either this trade was a penny-pinching salary dump that freed up an additional contract for this summer or it was a complete failure by the pro scouting staff to recognize Caron as the bust he clearly is. Neither is an acceptable outcome.

As you can see, it’s a pretty mixed bag in Year Two. While the majority of the team’s best moves were geared towards bolstering the AHL lineup, the moves that hurt the most had a significantly negative impact on the NHL roster. At some point, the Avs front office is going to have to close that gap.


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