Tuesday, April 5, 2011

All Things Avs blog: trade for a goalie?


In this blog entry, Adrian Dater floats the idea that the Avalanche should trade their upcoming draft pick for a goalie. One could argue, I suppose, that Dater is only "asking questions," but it's just a phenomenally stupid question to begin with.

Any time Dater starts talking about goaltending is a good time to ignore him entirely and go do something productive with your day. Because of his often-and proudly-stated biases involving Avalanche goaltending, his opinion is about as unobjective as it gets... and because those biases are the product of him not really understanding what makes a good (or a bad) goalie, his opinions on the matter are pretty much useless.

Dater starts by writing,

 OK, we all know the most glaring area of need going forward for the Burgundy and Blue is in net. Craig Anderson isn’t here to kick around anymore, and Peter Budaj and Brian Elliott have two of the highest goals-against averages in the entire NHL.

By beginning with "we all know..." Dater tries to present his opinion as the prevailing one. This is a common tactic used by high school debaters to convince the audience that everybody actually already agrees with the speaker. The problem is, however, that this supposed universal agreement Dater refers to simply does not exist. I'd argue that there are very, very few Avalanche observers who would say that goaltending is the primary concern for this team. Arguing that the Avs will never win the Cup with Budaj and Elliot in net is akin to arguing that I will never win the Indy 500 with the tires currently on my 4runner. Accurate, yes... but more than a bit off the point.

The "glaring area of need" for this team is: talent, health, and experience at pretty much every spot in the roster. Dater's assertion right of the bat that A) the team really needs a goalie, and B) that everybody already agrees with (A), is wrong on both counts.

Of course, Dater manages to work his tired opinion about Craig Anderson into this piece, as well as remarking that Budaj and Elliot have terrible numbers. Well, the reason they have terrible numbers could very well be that they play for the Avalanche... so again, the argument that they need a better goalie is kind of moot. They need a better team. A better goalie would be a band-aid on a head wound.

Dater then asks if the Avs should trade their upcoming pick - almost certain to be a top-three pick - for a goalie or goalie prospect. I suppose that just about any question is worth asking... but does that mean that any question is worth asking when you are the one print journalist assigned to the team?

If these Avs were contenders and they had the same mediocre goaltending they do now, then sure... trading a high pick for a goalie who could help them get over the hump might not be a bad idea. But the Avs are not contenders: they're rebuilding, they need serious help both defensively (not necessarily at defense, but with defensive-minded players, both D and forwards) and on offense, where their high-scoring team has ground to a halt. They've had a lot of injuries, and have had to fill spots with AHL-level talent, because there is not a lot of NHL-ready talent in the Avs system just waiting in the wings for their chance. They can address any number of these issues through this draft: the top three pick will get them a big, fast defenseman; a quick, high-scoring center; or a big, hard-hitting wing... all three areas in which the need is far more obvious and immediate than goaltender.

In short, not only is goaltender not the Avs' "most glaring area of need," but trading away their first-round pick in a draft with some nearly-NHL-ready talent to get a goalie would be one of the worst things the team could do for its future. One might expect some 13-year-old fan on the internet to suggest such a move, but to see the Avs' beat writer suggest it is just baffling, frankly.

Dater ends this experiment in stupidity by stating that the "best of all worlds" would be to sign Tomas Vokoun to a contract and let him come in here and suck while this team gets better. The problem with that, though, is that Vokoun is likely to be one of the most coveted free agents this offseason... why would he come to the dreadful Avalanche, and why would the Avs want to pay what it will take to sign him just to rise from "dreadful" to "average" for a couple years?

This blog is just a waste: a dumb suggestion based on a bad assumption that Dater treats as if it were gospel simply because it's his idea.


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