|Elliott, pictured moments after the Avalanche began the plot to destroy his life.|
Dater took the same approach a couple days ago with the decision to send Tyson Barrie to the AHL... and just as he was then, he's just wrong, plain and simple. As good as these guys may have been, it's pretty clear they aren't going to break into the Avs' top four without an injury or two occurring, so why bury a talented young kid at the bottom of the NHL roster, rather than send him to the minors where he will get gobs of ice time playing against men instead of boys, and–just maybe–learn a thing or two?
Dater needs to get it through his head that the players with the most "potential" in camp don't automatically earn a spot on the NHL team, and that sending a young player to the minors isn't a punishment. The Avs are trying to develop these kids into NHL talents, and the time-tested way to do that is to let them play lots of minutes in the AHL rather than a couple shifts a night in the NHL. Every single team in the NHL does it this way, and they do it every single year. There is really nothing "mysterious" about it... and the fact he was among the final cuts indicates he'd likely be called up in the event of an injury, anyway. He will get his chance... likely sooner than later, the way the Avs' injury history has gone the last few seasons.
I must admit that I have no informed opinion on just how well Elliott may or may not have looked so far, and I don't mean to imply that I do, as I didn't watch a minute of preseason hockey this year. Preseason sports of pretty much any kind fall somewhere in between "paint drying" and "grass growing" in my book; I prefer to wait for the real thing. Elliott may well have had a spectacular training camp and preseason–I've read he looked great, and I've read he got pushed around a bit–but it's not all that uncommon to send down a guy who looked good in camp. It's the young and untested guys that often get extra minutes in preseason games as the roster-lock veterans take it easy, only to be sent down not because they didn't perform well, but because they were playing largely against other teams' young and untested guys, and the coaches realize that they are simply not ready for the NHL.
Part of Dater's argument (if you can call it that) is that Elliott was pushed down to make room for Kyle Cumiskey, despite the fact that Cumiskey is hurt and on the IR.
Can anyone seriously give me a good argument why Cumiskey should be on this team instead of Elliott at this point?
This might have been the start of an interesting discussion, actually, if any tiny little fraction of it were even the slightest bit factual. Cumiskey isn't on the team. Cumiskey is on the injured reserve, and thus NOT a member of the Avs 23-man roster, and not taking anybody's spot in any way... but AD still seems to think that Cumiskey's presence essentially forced the Avs to send Elliott down. I have no idea what Dater is thinking here... all I can figure is that he feels he needs to stir up some resentment towards the Avs front office so he will have something to write about, and so he pulls out this "waiver politics" thing out of his bag when there's really no aspect of that to this roster move whatsoever. One might think that somebody who is so boldly broadcasting to the world that he knows more than the Avalanche general manager would have a concept of, you know, the way things work in the NHL. But you'd be wrong.
Dater closes with, "[The Avalanche] do things they think is right, and we’re free to analyze those decisions." His noun and his verb may not agree, but I do agree with Dater on this point: I'd warmly welcome some decent analysis in this blog.