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Avs GM Sherman ‘believes in the foundation’ of last-place club

Apr 4, 2013, 12:02 PM EDT

Greg Sherman Getty Images

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.

  1. killerpgh - Apr 4, 2013 at 12:41 PM

    With them being in 30th place and the Flames in 28th I would be kicking myself about matching Oreilly’s offer sheet from the Flames. Looking like it could be 2 of the top 3 pick (depending onhow the lottery works out) in this years deep draft.

    • phillyphanatic77 - Apr 4, 2013 at 1:18 PM

      Absolutely, it could come back to seriously bite them, especially with the bill the Flames stuck them with on O’Reilly’s next contract. You have to think acquiring players like Seth Jones AND Druin or Mackinnon would add more to the foundation than overpaying O’Reilly. I understand wanting to keep your young centers but that’s the type of decision that has left this proud franchise in a seemingly permanent rebuild. But we’ll have to see how the lottery unfolds to get a better idea.

  2. 4thquartermagic - Apr 4, 2013 at 12:58 PM

    Not mentioned in this post is the play and potential of goalie Semyon Varlamov. I’ll grant a pass based on the fact the Avs are in last place, however Varlamov has been great this year. It’s the Avs defense that has been their undoing.

    All this adds up to is Seth Jones being the goal here folks.

    A cornerstone defenseman (which Jones is projected to be) would be the turning point for the Avs as a franchise. The team hasn’t been the same on defense since Adam Foote left.

    Yes, it’s no guarantee he lives up to the billing
    Yes, defenseman take 2-3 years to develop.

    But the fan base here in Denver was loyal for a decade plus (after cup wins) to a team with no real stars or potential.

    Landeskog, O’reilly, Varlamov, and Seth Jones would be a great foundation to build on.

    • Mike Halford - Apr 4, 2013 at 1:33 PM

      Post’s been updated to reflect Varly/Landy in the “future” outlook.

  3. jernster21 - Apr 4, 2013 at 2:25 PM

    As an Avs fan and a growingly frustrated season ticket holder, I can buy into the whole rebuild/patience thing, but what I don’t buy is that this team is really a last place club. Basically, this team put on a pretty good second half run last season to make a solid push for the playoffs and ran out of gas (which is unacceptable in itself, you can’t get so far behind that even a fighting chance won’t get you back to an 8 spot) – we HAVE the players to do so, but it’s pretty clear that the current coaching staff isn’t going to be the one to take this team to the next level. Sacco is a scrub – the defense has progressively got worse from previous seasons under Sacco/Army/Quinn and this team is absolutely abysmal when it comes to fundamentals of playing hockey. No puck control, horrible passing, horrible decision making – while all of that stuff can be blamed on a young team, all of those things are correctable – don’t these guys watch film? How many times do you have to watch film of your mistakes before it actually sinks in and you learn to not make the same mistake? I simply don’t get it – clearly the message the coaching staff is preaching, if one at all, isn’t getting through.

    My season ticket renewal depends on 1) Sacco getting his walking papers and 2) Ensuring we get the #1 pick in the draft even if we don’t win the lottery. This team NEEDS Seth Jones and they need to make whatever deal required to make sure that happens.

  4. valoisvipers - Apr 4, 2013 at 2:47 PM

    I didn’t realize how bad things are in Colorado, 26th in attendance when they used to sell out every home game for years on end. Do they miss Super Joe Sakic that much?

  5. polegojim - Apr 4, 2013 at 3:02 PM

    Avs fans have been ‘BELIEVING’ in the foundation of this club… for what… a decade of failure?

    Mr. Sherman… or Sacco must go… both of them CAN’T be doing their jobs with the results.

    It’s downright silly to try to convince fans otherwise.

    By the way… WHAT FOUNDATION?

    • 4thquartermagic - Apr 4, 2013 at 4:14 PM

      Landeskog, O’reilly, Varlamov, and Seth Jones would be a great foundation to build on.

      • jernster21 - Apr 4, 2013 at 5:48 PM

        They also have this kid named Matt Duchene, he’s currently leading in goals, and 2nd in points on the team, maybe you’ve heard of him.

      • polegojim - Apr 5, 2013 at 9:21 AM

        I like those players… but it’s the same thing year in and year out – the Avs claim to have this youth ‘foundation’… and NOTHING comes from it.

        There was Drury, Abescher, Budaj, Stastny, Liles, Reinprecht, Skoula, Tanguay… and others all touted to be the ‘future foundatin’… all decent players, but where are they now?

        Avs Player Development has been VERY poor, or their method of ID and selection has bee VERY poor. Which is it?

      • polegojim - Apr 5, 2013 at 9:24 AM

        Yes jernster… I’ve heard of him… you mean the same kid that Sacco basically tried to run out of town up until February of this year? And I like Duchene very much.

        My point is that the Avs have FAILED miserably to build on previous YOUTH foundations… and are NOT doing any better with this group…. see the results.

  6. profsudz - Apr 4, 2013 at 5:58 PM

    Bwahaha! Love the avs

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