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Scott Takes: Will it be Tyson Jost or Ryan Graves to Seattle?

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Tyson Jost

In just two short weeks, one Avalanche player will exchange their Burgundy and Blue sweater for one of Seattle’s sleek new Deep Sea and Ice Blue getups.

And I see it coming down to two guys.

They’re easily the two most polarizing players on the Avs roster these days, and I’m sure about half the Avalanche fanbase wouldn’t mind seeing either of those guys go. Their names are Tyson Jost and Ryan Graves.

And whatever your feelings are on either of them, the truth is, Jost and Graves are above average Avalanche. And it’s very likely one (or even both? Who knows – it’s like pulling the virtual lever on some online slots right now) will be made available to the Kraken come July 21. And whichever way you look at it, the Avs are going to lose a good one

With the wealth of forwards GM Joe Sakic has in his cast, it only makes sense that Colorado opt for the 7-forwards-3-defensemen-1-goalie protection scheme over the 8-player-1-goalie option. The latter option gives leeway to protect more D-men, but ultimately offers immunity to fewer total players.

Therein lies the problem.

With Sakic choosing the 7-3-1 track, he can only protect three of his defensemen. It’s pretty darn easy to guess which of those three D-men Sakic selects.

It’s Cale Makar, Devon Toews and Sam Girard. No doubt about it.

But that exposes a pretty promising young defenseman on his backend. He is the Avs’ best penalty killer. He also led the team in blocked shots all throughout the season and through the playoffs, as well. He tied for the fifth-most takeaways. He’s quickly come into himself, physically, and he’s a bright, young D-man, though polarizing among Avs faithful. He is, of course, Ryan Graves. 

And should Sakic go the 8-1 route, he could protect the aforementioned Graves, but in turn would leave A LOT of his forwards exposed to the Kraken’s greedy tentacles. Assuming he protects his top trio, that leaves only one spot open for the likes of Andre Burakovsky, Nazem Kadri, Joonas Donskoi, Val Nichushkin, etc. There are too many options to be exposed that way.

And, again, therein lies the problem.

GM Joe will be forced to go 7-3-1 to protect more of those forwards. Burakovsky and Kadri likely make the list. I think Donskoi does as well. In doing this, guys like J.T. Compher, Nichushkin and Jost are left for Seattle’s picking.

Bonus Voucher!

Has Jost earned protection? I think so. Hear me out.

Fans have deliberated and dissuaded Jost’s worth over the last couple of years. Chalk me up as one of the pundits who was ready to watch him walk at the end of the 2019-20 season. I wouldn’t have minded it at all, quite frankly. He bet on himself, though, and came back for a ridiculously-low one-year, $874,000 deal. He then made me—and a lot of you—stick a sock in it this past season.

The 23-year-old Tyson Jost is a far cry from the exciting, spry scorer he was in the junior ranks, where he once-upon-a-time was the BCHL MVP after scoring 104 points in 42 games. Instead, he’s morphed into a decidedly less exciting—though ever-important—defensive specialist. Jost may never be the goal scorer or offensive juggernaut from the days of old. And that’s OK. Instead, he’s settled into an identity that’s made him one of the most important members in the Avs dressing room.

Like Graves, Tyson Jost is an analytics darling. Allow me to rattle a few key stats off to you: Tyson Jost led in takeaways per 60 minutes. He came in third among Avalanche forwards in hits. He drew the most penalties of any player not on the top line. But where he’ll really wow you is in the “intangibles” category. That is, what he does away from the puck. If you ask coach Jared Bednar, he’d tell you Jost is likely top-three in details, a key metric by which Bednar grades his crew. Jost is also one of the Avs most consistent forwards in that respect.

I really do think Jost deserves a spot on the Avs’ protected roster when Sakic submits it on July 17. I think he’s earned that spot. That leaves the likes of Graves, Compher, Nichushkin, and guys like Logan O’Connor to cross their fingers and hope Seattle GM Ron Francis doesn’t dial their number.

Take a look at my theoretical (and likely wrong) list of unprotected Avalanche and I’d venture a guess that Graves is the guy Ron Francis would covet in this situation.

And that’s why I think it comes down to either Tyson Jost or Ryan Graves as the two likely options to depart to the Pacific Northwest. It all comes down to which Sakic values more: his D-men or forwards. If he really wants to protect Graves, he goes with the 8-1 approach and protects him.

But that leaves him exposing a high number of his very good forwards ripe for Seattle’s picking. And this is why he’ll have to go 7-3-1; he’s stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Of course, there’s always the option for Sakic to offer a package to Seattle to take X instead of Y. We saw that a few times in the Vegas expansion draft from a few years back. I could see his hand being forced into doing something like that.

But at the same time, Sakic needs Seattle to take someone off his payroll. Money is tight these days and he’s got a lot on his plate to re-sign, including big-money paychecks to his captain, his Norris-finalist and future hall-of-famer cornerstone defenseman, and his Vezina-finalist goaltender. Throw in RFAs like Jost and Conor Timmins and Sakic is stuck, financially.

Will Ryan Graves’ $3.16M cap hit be the one coming off his books? If I were a betting man, I’d put money on it.

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A graduate of the University of Colorado Boulder, Scott has so far spent the early parts of his young career covering Colorado hockey — from the Avalanche to the Colorado Eagles to the DU Pioneers. His work can be found across sites such as NHL.com, TheAHL.com and SB Nation, among others. Scott currently resides in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Denver, where he works as a Marketing Executive when he's not writing.

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troian

Letting Graves go will be a huge mistake if it happens.

Yan Girard

The Avs will go with 8 skaters :
Makar, Girard, Toews, Graves
Mackinnon, Rantanen, Burakovsky, Jost.
 
Landeskog will be signed after the 21 july by Avs. Consequently, don’t need to protect him.
The Avs will try to get a deal with Seattle to retain Nichushkin with the team.
The Avs will try to trade Kadri, Erik Johnson, J.T. Compher to save money.
The Avs would like to keep O’Connor
The Avs should keep their first pick at draft 2021
The Avs have a interest to resign Grubauer and Saad but not any price.
Donskoi could go at Seattle. 

Ricardo

Tough decision. I wonder about protecting both Jost and Graves and letting one of the other forwards go. We have a several good young forwards coming up–I hope.

Matt Briggle

I think they should protect both Jost and Nichushkin and expose Donskoi. The last point you made in the article is the most important one – they need Seattle to take $3+ mil off of their books. I also agree with you that Graves is the most likely one to be taken, and I’m fine with that. I’ve always liked him and don’t want to see him go, but with Makar, Toews, Girard, and Byram as the top 4 next year as well as EJ likely on the 3rd pair, I don’t see them wanting $9 mil tied up in… Read more »

Yan Girard

Graves has a good worth. If necessary, you can get a good return in a trade. The Avs will go with 8 skaters : Makar, Girard, Toews, Graves Mackinnon, Rantanen, Burakovsky, Jost   Landeskog will be signed after the 21 july by Avs. Consequently, don’t need to protect him. The Avs will try to get a deal with Seattle to retain Nichushkin with the team. The Avs will try to trade Kadri, Erik Johnson, J.T. Compher to save money. The Avs would like to keep O’Connor The Avs should keep their first pick at draft 2021 The Avs have a… Read more »

Last edited 18 days ago by Yan Girard
Matt Briggle

I understand where you’re coming from, but I just don’t see it as realistic. First, you don’t take the risk with Landy, Seattle has a two day window in there where they can (if they want to) come in and offer him 8 years at say $8 mil. There is no way the Avs can compete with that money so are you counting on his good will to come back and sign with us for less? I know he’s loyal, but that could really test the bonds of that loyalty. Second, who do you have to replace Kadri at 2C?… Read more »

Yan Girard

Landeskog will sign with Avs. He would be crazy to play with another team when he is the captain and he plays with three players one of the best in the world that are Mackinnon, Rantanen and Makar. Landeskog is too intelligent to miss this unique opportunity. Even more Landeskog is a winner and would have the chance to play with the best team in the NHL. I have confidence in Landeskog. I believe that a implicit deal with Landeskog is possible. Also, I believe that Sakic has fully confidence in Landeskog. That would demonstrate at Landeskog all the confidence that… Read more »

MICHAEL H HILL

Nichushkin, Donskoi and Graves should be left unprotected. Jost has good metrics and is young.

chippy play

So does Nuke. If you’re exposing Graves, you can protect both Nuke and Jost.

ricoflashback

F Sam Girard. What a waste to protect him. Guaranteed Avs failure unless they beef up their defense. Another year gone with Nate & Company. This will all be on Sakic’s head and Josh Kroenke but I doubt the message will get through. Maybe two or three years of failure ahead until the light bulb turns on. This team needs to get bigger, more physical and tougher. Ice Capades hockey works great during the regular season. Not so much for the playoffs. Brain dead. Protect Kadri? You’ve got to be kidding me. No way in hell that Seattle is starting… Read more »

Last edited 20 days ago by ricoflashback
gurnblanston

A bit coarse but 100% accurate.

ricoflashback

Nice guy. Good person. But a real liability, defensively, in the playoffs. Great in open space and “Ice Capades” hockey during the regular season. Pretty “whirling dervish” moves. When the playoffs come and the ice shrinks and the space is minimized and it gets very physical – – all his warts come out. Pushed around like a rag doll and swatted away from the net with ease. Hammered in the corners, giving up puck possession. Girard will be exposed in every playoff series no matter who he is playing for. Especially when you get past the first round.

Mike Fisk

per Daters article about Kadri from 3 days ago, his no trade clause in his contract requires him to be protected in the expansion draft. Unless he waves it, which is very unlikely. Makes me wonder if EJ’s contract is similar? Girard will be protected to. Not disagreeing that he may lack the physicality one may want in a D-man. But his age and cheap contract make the biggest reasons while he’ll be protected.

ricoflashback

Yes, I didn’t research enough to know that Kadri has a 10 team “No Trade” clause. I wonder if the Kraken are on that list? Only one more year to put up with Naz if he’s not traded. I don’t buy that we can’t find a replacement for him. He’s one more suspension away from losing a significant time of hockey in a season. It’s not a question of “if” for Naz (whether he’ll get suspended again.) It’s a question of “when.” You can’t change the spots on a leopard. Girard isn’t cheap – – it’s a guaranteed five million… Read more »

Yan Girard

I think that your Ice Capades is in your living room. The Avs will add probably players more physical in defensive and offensive. Otherwise, the Avs have elite players. Much teams would like to have these players. When the Tampay Bay Lightning was swept by Columbus Blue Jacket 2 years ago, the Tampa Bay Lightning didn’t trade its elite players. We added players as Goodrow and Coleman. The best line of Tampa Bay Lightning in final was Gourde(5.09)-Goodrow(6.02)-Coleman(5.11). That isn’t big players, don’t you think? I prefer small players that play big than big players that play small.   The… Read more »

Last edited 18 days ago by Yan Girard
ricoflashback

Little Sammy Girard is 5’10” (in skates?) and 170 pounds soaking wet. You can get away with smaller forwards or even smaller centers. But not on defense. Not that small of a size. He’s swatted away like a gnat in front of the net. Las Vegas really punished him in the corners, so much, that he shied away from contact. Avoided it at all costs – – which usually lead to a turnover and/or a scoring opportunity. The Avs will never win anything with Sam Girard and the Ice Capades team they have now. They have to get more physical… Read more »

Yan Girard

Logan O’Connor doesn’t meet the eligibility criteria at the expansion draft but he isn’t exempt at the expansion draft. In this way, the Kraken can select Logan O’Connor. This selection isn’t favourable at the Avs because he isn’t expensive, he is good player and the Avs needs of money.   Landeskog will sign with Avs. He would be crazy to play with another team when he is the captain and he plays with three players one of the best in the world that are Mackinnon, Rantanen and Makar. Landeskog is too intelligent to miss this unique opportunity. Even more Landeskog is… Read more »

Rick

The Avs protected list will be: Landeskog MacKinnon Rantanen Kadri Burakovsky Jost Nichushkin Makar Toews Girard Grubauer One of: Donskoi Compher Graves is going to Seattle. Incidentally after creating the list of forwards above based on my general feeling of who the team values the most I went to Natural Stat Trick and looked at regular season 5v5 TOI numbers. The Top 7 forwards in 5v5 TOI is the exact list above and almost in that order except 96 and 29 are flipped – of course they value 29 the most I just happened to list them in line order… Read more »

Screenshot 2021-07-09 at 09-13-31 Player Season Totals - Natural Stat Trick.png
Yan Girard

***Sakic and I have confidence in Landeskog***. The Avs will go with 8 skaters : Makar, Girad, Toews, Graves Mackinnon, Rantanen, Burakovsky, Jost   Landeskog will be signed after the 21 july by Avs. Consequently, don’t need to protect him. The Avs will try to get a deal with Seattle to retain Nichushkin with the team. The Avs will try to trade Kadri, Erik Johnson, J.T. Compher to save a money. The Avs would like to keep O’Connor The Avs should keep their first pick at draft 2021 The Avs have a interest to resign Grubauer and Saad but not… Read more »

Rick

Evolving-Hockey just released a mock Expansion Draft based on their GAR calculations. They have the same protection list as I posted and have Seattle picking Donskoi. https://evolving-hockey.com/blog/evolving-hockey-drafts-an-expansion-team/ There’s not a single chance in hell the Avs are going 8 skaters. Graves is not important enough to their future (he’s not important at all to their future) to leave 3 additional forwards exposed. The strength of their prospect pipeline is D. They’re not going to protect one who deosn’t figure into their long term plans to sacrifice legit NHL middle 6 forwards who are in short supply with them. Joe Sakic… Read more »

Last edited 17 days ago by Rick
Yan Girard

Landeskog will sign with Avs. He would be crazy to play with another team when he is the captain and he plays with three players one of the best in the world that are Mackinnon, Rantanen and Makar. Landeskog is too intelligent to miss this unique opportunity. Even more Landeskog is a winner and would have the chance to play with the best team in the NHL. I have confidence in Landeskog. I believe that a implicit deal with Landeskog is possible. Also, I believe that Sakic has fully confidence in Landeskog. That would demonstrate at Landeskog all the confidence that… Read more »

Enzo

I agree with all of your points here.. Great read… Ultimately I think It will be Graves that will depart to the coffee capital of the US..

Catatafish

Writers keep making these lists but take a look at what Vegas did on their expansion draft. A whole lot of wheeling and dealing. They struck deals for picks and bulk up on players so teams got more say on who they keep. And for Vegas it worked out big time too. Seattle will no doubt do the same. Jost and Graves were both success stories this season. Sakic should play ball and feed Compher to Seattle. Give them picks and some prospects to go with and keep both Jost and Graves. Compher has some potential but reality is after… Read more »

Yan Girard

The Avs will go with 8 skaters :
Makar, Girad, Toews, Graves
Mackinnon, Rantanen, Burakovsky, Jost
 
Landeskog will be signed after the 21 july by Avs. Consequently, don’t need to protect him.

Yan Girard

The Avs will go with 8 skaters :
Makar, Girad, Toews, Graves
Mackinnon, Rantanen, Burakovsky, Jost
 
Landeskog will be signed after the 21 july by Avs. Consequently, don’t need to protect him.
The Avs will try to get a deal with Seattle to retain Nichushkin with the team.
The Avs will try to trade Kadri, Erik Johnson, J.T. Compher to save a money.
The Avs would like to keep O’Connor
The Avs should keep their first pick at draft 2021
The Avs have a interest to resign Grubauer and Saad but not any price.
Donskoi could go at Seattle. 

[…] Sakic thought ahead in making this kind of deal. In an expansion year, a guy like Graves was always at risk of being lost for nothing. I think Sakic did a fine job of […]

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