They’re going to have to part with someone. There’s no getting around it. The Avs are going to say goodbye to a veteran player to the Seattle Kraken in the next expansion draft, and as things stand right now, I fear that player will be Ryan Graves.
To summarize, as most of you already know: The Kraken will enter the league for the 2021-22 season, and will pick their team some time after the coming season (knock on wood). The Avs will have to protect seven forwards, three defensemen and one goalie. For the purposes of this column, I’m going to just focus on the defense.
After having the barest of cupboards in this area for the longest time, the Avs suddenly have an embarrassment-of-riches problem on defense. They’ve got the best young defenseman in the NHL already in Calder winner Cale Makar. They’ve got Sam Girard, and the NHL’s plus-minus leader in Graves, and a blossoming young veteran in Devon Toews. They’ve got three defensemen who will play in the World Junior tourney starting in two weeks (Bo Byram, Justin Barron and Drew Helleson). They’ve still got promising youngster Conor Timmins.