What could’ve been a busy deadline day for the Colorado Avalanche — the NHL’s last-place team — ended up being a quiet one, with only veteran blueliner Ryan O’Byrne getting shipped out of town.
And according to Avs GM Greg Sherman, that was by design.
“I believe in this hockey team and I believe in the foundation that we have here,” Sherman told the Denver Post. “We all believe in it, from our entire operation on down.”
Despite Sherman’s outlook, many thought the Avs might blow it up heading into Wednesday’s deadline.
The only players with no-movement clauses were veterans Milan Hejduk and JS Giguere, and there was buzz around the likes of pending UFA Chuck Kobasew (though he’s currently dealing with back stiffness), defenseman Erik Johnson and the team’s highest-paid player, Paul Stastny.
But Sherman didn’t deal.
Though that’s not to say he didn’t field inquiries.
“There were several calls that I received regarding players on our team, but players on our roster that I believe in and our organization believes in,” he explained. “We did get inquiries throughout the day, and it shows what we have in place here. We have a very good young core.
“The foundation is very solid, and on days like today you get affirmation of that.”
The Avs do have some good talent. On paper, they should be in decent shape heading into next season.
If the organization calls a mulligan on this year and starts fresh, it’ll have great depth at center (Stastny, Ryan O’Reilly, Matt Duchene) and a full compliment of wingers once Steve Downie comes back from a torn ACL.
Semyon Varlamov has been solid in net, and reigning Calder Trophy winner (and team captain) Gabriel Landeskog is still only 20 years old.
Also, the club already has 20 players under contract next season for $54 million, $10 million shy of the cap ceiling. Sherman could look to upgrade his defense via free agency — which has been an issue this season — or acquire someone via trade, with the flexibility to take on salary.
All of this, of course, is contingent upon folks buying what Sherman is selling.
Avs fans have been angry at the club’s direction over the last few years (related: the Avs sit 26th in the NHL in attendance) and to hear a GM say he’s sticking with the core of a last-place club?
Yeah, that might not go over so well.