Will the Avalanche Improve Their Defense?

The Colorado Avalanche face ongoing questions over their defense, which was among the worst in the league last season.

Will Patrick Roy & Joe Sakic do anything to bolster their defense this summer?

Will Patrick Roy & Joe Sakic do anything to bolster their defense this summer?

ESPN.COM: Tim Kavanagh notes big questions continue to dog the Colorado Avalanche over their defense, which made them among only five teams last season with a team GAA over 3.00, plus they allowed the sixth-most shots-against per game. Having passed over drafting promising blueliner Seth Jones with the first overall pick to select center Nathan MacKinnon, their biggest defense acquisitions this summer were Cory Sarich and Andre Benoit. If the Avs do decide to dip into the free agent market (they have over $10 million in cap space), Kavanagh noted Ryan Whitney, Ron Hainsey and Ian White remain available.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of that group, I believe Hainsey would be the best fit. While his offensive numbers are down in recent years, he garnered praise for his defensive play. He could also provide some much-needed veteran leadership. That being said, however, it remains to be seen what – if anything – the Avs will do to address their obvious defensive deficiencies for the upcoming season.


  1. D-men did someone say D-men? I know where the Avs can pick up one or 2 of those….Mr Nonis meet Mr Sakic

    • There are 28 other teams with D men to choose from but only an idiot would think that Col has to get their D men from Nonis..

      • True…but not all the 28 other teams have any available. The Leafs happen to be in a position to move a defenseman and the Avs might get a good deal since the Leafs are looking to reduce salary to sign Kadri and Franson. Assuming the deal doesn’t include a Franson of course.That’s really all he said.

        • mrv you have to know the guy that posted it. He was talking about trading Franson once again. He is in love with Phaneuf so you can rule him out, Gunnar and Fraser just signed so they won’t be going anywhere, and no way Col is taking Liles back so that only leaves Franson and Gardiner both which an intelligent Leaf fan would not want to trade.

          • Can’t say I’m in love with Phaneuf and I wouldn’t be opposed to moving him. Trading Franson is an option if his demands are unreasonable. I prefer we sign him and see if he can continue to develop. He has obvious up-side with his reach, size and shot. Only way Gardiner goes if Duchene comes back the other way in a larger deal but that’s of course highly unlikely. Agree they probably won’t take Liles back but it wouldn’t be the first time a player returns to a previous team.

      • look in mirror

        • Lol no hes right we should just give Franson a blank cheque and have him fill it out himself this would be +5 Beergoggles

    • You mean Mr Roy.

  2. Still think passing on Jones could come back to haunt them. I agree Hainsey is probably the best fit as far as UFA’s go. Other than that, Sakic could explore trade options. That’s tougher to do this season. However, they have some cap flexibility.

    • Ya the Jones thing is maybe a little odd to me too considering the glaring need for a future D star in their line up and with the amount of money they are going to be paying to tie up all their young forwards in the next few years it probably would have been a good choice as far as cost certainty goes and developing them all as a team as opposed to paying a higher price to a UFA or thru a trade but its really hard to not pick potentially the next great super star in McKinnon I suppose.

      • Good grammar skills

        • Ya thats kinda awful, sometimes I just type away didnt know I was getting graded :-p

      • Holy run-on sentence, Batman!

    • considering it takes a defenseman 10 years roughly to go from draft pick to fully contributing with their full potential (Daughty, Suban being signifianct exceptions), it’s always wiser to draft forward first and trade for defenseman later.

      • btw, not because dmen suck, because defense is the hardest position, the most exploited position, with the most spotlight on you. maybe goalie. but forwards can develop with much less stress.

  3. I personally think the Coytoes would be better trade partners when it comes to defense. Ave’s could make a pitch for one of Yandle, Zybnek, Rundblad, Gormely, or Murphy. Depending on which would be depending on the price. But if they were willing to part with one of O’Reilly or Parenteau they could def talk Yandle. Or they could part with something less for one of the others … Rundblad or Gromely would make nice young growing additions.

    • Double Check this but I don’t think Avs can trade OReilly until end of February ?

      • feb 28

  4. Phaenuf –> for a promising active forward and pick? Maybe?

  5. If the Avs want a skating puck mover perhaps A-mart could be had…the Kings have a bit of a log jam on D.

  6. I foresee Av’s win 10-8, 6-3 like the old Bronco’s.
    Need to toss an offer sheet 5-6 mil for 5 years to Alex Pietrangelo, what the heck why not.

    • hes looking for 7, no way he signs an offer sheet for 5

  7. There are lots of teams with salary cap issues that could have there roster picked for maybe a tad below value. The Pens have 2 guys in Niskanen and Orpik I believe available. Niskanen is a solid 5-6 puck mover but struggles with top 4 minutes. Oprik is a bit of a folk hero here but simply can’t be paid his asking price after this season. Tough and gritty leader that blocks shots like its his job because it is. With Scuderi coming back I think some of the young guys need to break into the league finally and there are simply too many bodies. Bottom 6 forward help needed badly!

    • They would be crazy to trade Orpick imo

      • Orpik is tough as nails and a great leader definitely not a player I would want to lose but I don’t think the Pens will have the cash he seeks. If the right bottom 6 forward came in an offer I would take it and lets the glut of young guys jump in and take a shot at the opening. Open up a little space to buy at the deadline too if it doesnt work out.

        • Ah ok, I forgot he is coming up on a contract year. Well If we don’t extend Dion he could be just what the Dr. ordered for the Leafs and all these PMD. The guy is the prototype of good defensive D man. You’re right I’m sure someone will pay a pretty penny for Orpick.

          • Excuse the spelling duh.

  8. The Pens have to get under the cap by the time the season rolls around…..Niskanen seems the obvious man out in Pit but who knows maybe Orpik is available too

    • Squeeze one more year out of Orpik and then let him walk … then take your pick from Poulliot, Harrington, Matta and insert into lineup … one more year in the minors won’t hurt any of those guys …

  9. What about a trade with the ‘Jackets? They need offense, have defensive depth, and are now in the other conference.

  10. Avs aren’t making any moves until 2014. You’ve got a new coach w new strategy & see how the players respond. Also addition by subtraction w Zanon & O’Brien. Avs have 8 NHL Dmen, including two young puck movers in Barrie & Elliot who will be given mins. Roy has stated 2013 draft pick Birgas could make the team out of camp, and Siemens avail for call up, so there’s lots of internal options. Looks like they’ll see how D adjusts to new coach & new attitude. I would check back at the trading deadline

  11. This is kind of off topic but I’m just wondering why the current Avs GM hasn’t been fired because honestly it seems like Roy and Sakic are basically running everything to do with that GM position?

  12. I know Leaf Nation is in favor of trading Phaneuf but be careful what you ask for! He’s not worth his contract obviously but he’s our best defensemen currently and won’t be traded unless it’s as a rental at the deadline but Nonis will undoubtedly try to re-sign Dion at a reasonable price after they have Kessel locked up long-term. Sure he has cement skates and absolutely costed us in the playoffs but he’s been a top 10 defender the last couple years and is still an offensive and physical threat every game!

    • Agreed. Im not really sure he is all that over paid tho, a tad perhaps but if you look at the top 20-25 d in the league (which You could easily make an argument he is one of.) its not by very much at all if any. The people who mostly rip on Dion and what he gets paid are the one who only watch Glen Healy, Don Cherry and the boys on hockey Night in Canada and couldnt name 20 other defense men let alone 20 better then him. When or if he leaves I really hope we have a plan to get another top pairing kind of guy who plays 20-25 minutes or we are in big trouble.

      • Phaneuf = Youtube Defenseman.
        great goals and great hits, but the rest of his 20 minutes of ice time is slow skating ability and seemingly a low hockey IQ for making poor decisions at the wrong times that cost his team.
        Wonder if the pressure of playing in a hockey market is getting to him? He seemed to be a superstar in the making with the world juniors and his early NHL career.

        • How is Calgary not a ‘hockey market’? Smaller market but fewer competing interests ie no major league baseball, soccer, basketball to compete with.

  13. The Avs got a decent bottom pairing guy in Benoit. I’m gonna miss him in Ottawa this year. He brought a steady calmness to the team, and he can score a little.

  14. @ Jes_SabresFan

    AVS need him to actually do the least fun but highly important jobs that Roy and Sakic are uninterested or incapable or lack expertise in: Negotiating contracts, managing the salary cap, handling details of Board of Governors meetings, liasion with the league offices. Sherman at least has experience and credibility there.