It's time for a change: something Colorado Avalanche fans have been saying for years.
The need and want has been to strengthen the Avs' defensive zone, specifically the blue line; however, instead of a defenseman the Avs took Tyson Jost, a center from Canada, in the first round of the 2016 draft last season.
Hey, hockey is a two-way sport and center is the most two-way position of them all, we get it. So their selection of a center was another attempt to strengthen the middle of the ice, both their defense and offense with their first pick.
It worked with Nathan Mackinnon, for awhile it worked with Matt Duchene and Paul Statsny, but their last few centermen have not panned out.
People wanted a defensemen and now they have one in Cale Makar...well in the next couple years.
The team had 278 goals against in their 82 games last season -- 53 goals more than the average of the rest of the league -- with only 166 goals for -- 69 goals less than the average. Although their offense seems worse, the play always starts in their defensive zone and is the zone all young hockey players are taught to protect first.
It's time to strengthen the Avs' defensive core.
The last time the Avalanche took a defenseman in the first round with their first pick of the draft was in 2011, when they selected Duncan Siemens. Siemens never proved valuable for the Avs playing in only four NHL games.
Prior to him, the Avs drafted Kevin Shattenkirk in 2007. Maybe the name sounds familiar.
Shattenkirk was traded from the Avalanche after playing one season for the team in 2010-11 to the St. Louis Blues, where he became one of the leading defensemen in the league.
This hasn't been the first time the Avalanche have traded or let a player slip away who has gone on to flourish for another team: Paul Statsny, Wojtek Wolski, Craig Anderson, John-Michael Liles, Peter Budaj, Chris Stewart, P.A. Parenteau and recently, Ryan O'Reilly.
When it comes to recent reports that the team is considering trading Matt Duchene, the Avalanche are trying to avoid another trade turned bust.
The Pittsburgh Penguins, Nashville Predators, Montreal Canadians, or the Carolina Hurricanes, wherever Duchene ends up he will flourish and continue to be an offensive weapon for the team he laces up for, just probably not the Avalanche.
So far, Colorado's let Mikhail Grigerenko, Francois Beauchemin and Calvin Pickard go in this offseason. Will Duchene be another piece that slips out of the fingers? Perhaps, yes. The question is, will whoever they get in return be a franchise defenseman the Avs can build their D-core around?
Now, the fans are slowly starting to get some change. Good or bad, we won't know until the start of the Avs season at Madison Square Garden against the New York Rangers Oct. 5.
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