Monday, July 4, 2011


There has been a lot of activity on the Denver Post's Avalanche web page recently. After the NHL Entry draft, the free agency signing period began, and as expected, the Avalanche made some noise there, too... but not the noise that Dater expected. This will be short reviews of a number of articles and blog entries, so it will be fairly long... if you read to the end you get a gold star.

First up is an All Things Avs blog entry about the Avalanche goalie situation. The Avalanche entered the free agency period with no NHL goalies signed to their roster. In many opinions, the Avs had no NHL goalies signed to their roster in 2010-2011, either, so just about everybody believed the team needed to make a big splashy goalie signing on July 1.

In this blog entry, Dater predicts about as emphatically as one can that the Avalanche would sign Florida goalie Tomas Vokoun to a large, multi-year deal:

 If I were walking into a Vegas sports book right now and they had a list of NHL free agents and their likelihood to sign with certain teams, I would probably empty out whatever meager amount was in my wallet and put most or all of it on “Tomas Vokoun to the Avalanche.”

Regular readers of Dater's blog will recognize this as a sign to bet heavily the other way: Dater has an absolutely awful track record on predictions like these. For Dater's sake, I hope he realizes he should never walk into a Vegas sportsbook... but a person could do pretty well betting against Dater's lock-of-the-century predictions.

Tomas Vokoun plays dead to avoid the gaze of Avalanche GM Greg Sherman.
I'm not sure why Dater sees the need to make predictions like this in the first place. Just report what is happening... guessing what might happen is not really a reporter's job, is it? In fairness to Dater, he's hardly the only reporter that falls into the "I'm a fortune teller" trap, but he may be one of the worst at it. Yet, he continues to put what is left of his reputation on the line with bold predictions like this, and not surprisingly to anybody who follows his blog, he was dead wrong.


Since the Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup last month, there hasn't been much going on in hockey. And of course, there hasn't been much going on with the Avalanche for a couple months before that, so it's been understandably quiet around here at Grading Dater. But with both the NHL Entry draft and the start of free agent signings both within the last two weeks, I think it's time to crank out an update. So to all the readers who are not my brother, welcome back! And to my brother: stop kicking pucks into my net!


As we know, the Avalanche selected forward Gabriel Landeskog with the second pick of the draft. I like the pick a lot... he fits the Avs' needs (a huge part of the Avs' defensive problems is that their forwards are way too easy to get the puck away from), and by all accounts is a kid of great character who's not afraid to step up into a leadership role. Plenty of people are still griping about trading away Chris Stewart, but I think Landeskog's combination of skill plus desire & character could make him a much more valuable player for the Avalanche than Stewart ever could have been.

I had hoped that the Avs would pick Adam Larsson, the big Swedish defenseman, with their lottery pick. As I said, I like Landeskog, but I see Larsson as being a much rarer type of player. He's a big, fast, skilled defenseman who's been playing in an elite pro league for a couple years. My view is that with a top-five pick, you want to grab a superstar-type player, and I see Larsson as much more of that type of player than Landeskog.