Let’s do an Avs Mailbag here, starting with addressing the growing Claude Giroux rumors, that he might become an Av by the March 21 NHL trade deadline.
Straight up would you rather have nichushkin or giroux on the 2nd line.
— Nathaniel Torok (@natetorok) January 26, 2022
Great question. Personally, this, for me, all comes down to how much the Avs would part with to get a 34-year-old rental in the last year of his contract. Mind you, Claude Giroux is a proven scorer, and a very good faceoff man. But he’s also 34 years old and in the last year of a deal before he can go UFA. If the asking price here is something like an established player (Jost, Kubel, Maltsev) and a first-round pick and maybe another pick? I take a hard pass.
First off, if Giroux plays on the second line, that means either Big Val or Burakovsky has to drop down a line. Especially in the case of Nichushkin, that seems not only unfair, but unwise. The Avs would get older, smaller and slower by trading Giroux for Big Val on a line. So, you want to play Giroux on the third line then maybe? No, not in giving up that much for him. And, he’s not going to like playing on a third line besides.
If Giroux is playing on the same line as Kadri, who takes the faceoffs? Kadri is a premier faceoff guy too. I don’t like the sound of this. By the way, I asked hockey analyst Ray Ferraro his thoughts on this and here’s what he said: “I think their priority is making sure they’re solid enough (at) goal, don’t see how they could add Giroux’s cap hit and address the goalie if that’s what they want to do.”
Giroux’s cap hit is $8.275 million. The Flyers would have to retain a lot of that salary for this deal to work.
I don’t think the Avs need a guy like Claude Giroux. I’m not saying he’d be a terrible guy to have. At all. But the Avs can’t be suckered into giving up a ton for an older rental player.
Names you’re hearing other than Giroux, Pavelski, Klingberg? Boyd, DeBrusk, Manson etc
— Alex Young (@aybrowne) January 26, 2022
Believe it or not, I’ve heard Joonas Donskoi’s name mentioned again. He played so well here, and he’s got a right-hand shot, which, if you listen to some of the rumors, the Avs feel like they have a need there. Kraken GM Ron Francis just told ESPN’s Linda Cohn that, essentially, any Kraken player could be had by the deadline.
Bringing Donkey back is something that I’d say has a slight chance of happening. He was a great teammate here, knows the system and plays better with good players. He’s got one year beyond this one left on a contract he signed with the Avs that has a $3.9 million cap hit.
One very bad stat for Donkey: He’s got…gulp…zero goals in 41 games for the Kraken.
Why is it Kadri gets tossed from So. Many. Face offs?
— Brad Steele (@steelebd) January 26, 2022
Because he’s Nazem Kadri and he always get the short end of the stick from officials. But seriously, Naz does get kicked out a fair amount. I can only surmise that the linesemen think he’s cheating too quick moving his stick on the puck before it drops.
Every good faceoff man cheats, though. Why Kadri gets picked on more than others? Good question.
Avalanche clearly need Jost and Compher to heat up, are they trade bait at this point and is it worth it to trade for a Forward that can play a little D and win a face offm
— Dan (@DanTalbott6) January 26, 2022
Listen, anybody who reads me regularly knows I’ve been tough on both Jost and Compher at times over the years. But, do the Avs really need them to heat up? We’re talking about the top-scoring team in the league here.
I think Compher has had a good year overall. And, while Jost’s lack of point production remains a source of frustration to many, his role is more of a checker and PK guy now. I think we’re past the point of realistically hoping for big offensive numbers anymore from Tyson Jost.
I don’t think Compher will be going anywhere. Jost? Could be.
Two part question: 1l What makes this year's team better than last year, and 2) Are they now built to win the cup.
— Jeff Harrison (@RUSH_LLP) January 26, 2022
This is a better team because:
- Logan O’Connor is a much better player than anyone expected.
- Alex Newhook is already proving he can score goals and hold his own at third-line center.
- Nichushkin has effectively replaced the top-six scoring vacated by Brandon Saad.
- The goaltending is better overall, especially with Pavel Francouz back to full health.
- The return of Erik Johnson has added much better depth to the defense.
- Jack Johnson has been a very pleasant surprise.
- Kurtis MacDermid has added a scary tough guy presence that opponents don’t want to mess with, and I don’t care what any politically correct Twitter keyboard warrior says, that matters still in hockey.
Are they Cup-ready? Well, I like this team a lot and, yes, I think they can win a Cup with the roster on hand. One thing: The Bo Byram situation is something that might necessitate a deal for another veteran D-man. We simply don’t know if Byram will play at all again this season. If not, they’re going to need to add another D-man.
Mailbag question: we’re you 19 in that photo?
— Christian (@sl0th77) January 26, 2022
Are you saying I look older now? How dare you!
But no. I believe I was 29 when that photo was taken. That was…gulp…28 years ago.
I like Kuemper but what are the chances we head into next year with Frankie and Annunen as a duo ? I'm thinking this might be our best opportunity to keep a couple of our UFA and keep some money for when Toews' gonna need a new deal.
— Gabriel Gingras (@GabrielGingras9) January 26, 2022
Good question, but I think you’re forgetting one thing: Frankie can be a UFA this summer too, along with Kemps. Of the Avs’ top two goalies right now, BOTH could walk away for nothing this summer. So, yeah, that’s a bit of a worry.
As far as Justus Annunen goes, he’s played much better with the Eagles of late, after a very slow start. But his overall saves percentage right now is still just .904. I don’t think he’d be ready to assume the No. 1 job next year. The Avs have to really make a big decision, and not all that long from now, about who they see leading this team into the near future as their top goalie.
Funniest current or former player you've interacted with during your career?
— Norm, dissatisfied (@SmokeShermDaily) January 26, 2022
Tough call here, but probably Mike Ricci. I was lucky enough to ride the team bus and play a lot in the early days, and Ricci had many memorable one-liners from the back – and not many of them can be reprinted here on a family publication.
The late Ruslan Salei had a very dry wit that I enjoyed, as did Jan Hejda. Shjon Podein was always funny, as was Ryan O’Byrne and Jean-Sebastien Giguere.
Hey I know I’m late on this and maybe I don’t know the rules but why don’t both players just take their helmets off when they fight? I would think it would be a safety thing for both so no hands get hurt.
— JoJo Leen (@JoJoLeen21) January 26, 2022
Good question, and while there are no set rules about fighting, it is considered good form to take off your helmet before a fight. But so many fights just happen in the heat of the moment, with one guy punching the other before they get a chance to even think of taking the helmet off.
If you can disclose, since you have covered the team, what is the best player the Avs almost got in a trade but didn’t end up happening?
— 🌑 SFM VADER 🌑 (@avaholik86) January 26, 2022
I believe the Avs nearly signed Markus Naslund to a free-agent deal in the early-to-mid 2000s. I believe Peter Forsberg was acting as something of a liaison on such a deal. But something fell through. Maybe one of these days I’ll get the full story.
True story: I was waiting at various airport gates at DIA, thinking Naslund would be arriving on a flight from Vancouver. His name was on the manifest. But he never did get off any of the several flights I waited hours for, at the gates and having bought a real airline ticket to be able to actually get to the gates.
Thanks for the questions folks,