I’m probably the #1 Girard defender on Capfriendly so I’m right there with you. Problem the Avs are in now is that they are in a cap crunch with no 2C. If the trade is 1-1, that’s fine with me. But I imagine the Coyotes want futures.
In this scenario, MacDermid is 8th D. I’d call up MacDonald before letting MacDermid take a shift at defense. So maybe 9th D.
I disagree with you on Schmaltz being a marginal improvement at F. He’s a huge play driver. If Newhook continues to grow into that 2C role, Schmaltz can always move to RW (where he’s played a lot of his career). But at this point, I wouldn’t be ready to commit to Newhook at 2C
Understood, but I think the Avs are willing to let this season go with one of the following options during the regular season:
1) Rantanen with Compher on RW. Lehkonen at LW.
2) Compher with Rantanen or Nichushkin at RW. Lehkonen at LW.
3) Newhook with Lehkonen-Rantanen.
Biggest reasons and it requires taking a step back to see the bigger picture:
1) Accruing cap space for deadline deals if there are injuries or nothing works at 2C (or in net).
2) We play in a division with BOTH super-tankers Chicago and Arizona; making the playoffs with home ice advantage won't be as difficult. Blues got worse (lost Perron/Husso); Wild got worse (lost Fiala/Talbot and who knows about Kaprisov); Nashville got better and Dallas held serve (Klingberg out, Marchment in) and Winnipeg is in flux. In the West; Vegas and Calgary got worse and the Kings/Oilers improved; so there wasn't an overall increase in level of competition.
3) Sakic/MacFarland do not want to handcuff next year's cap with anything too large or too long. MacKinnon, Byram, Newhook, and Myers are all up next year.
4) Until Behrens is NHL ready the Avs don't have anyone that they would be able to develop internally to replace Girard.
5) The Avs brass are extremely patient, value consistency in player movement, and are very high on Newhook's talent; so they will allow him all the chances to step up before they react to any issues with making a run this year.
6) It is pretty much a foregone conclusion that Compher won't be back next year due to the cap, his $3.5 million + $1 million cap increase + MacKinnon's current $6.3 million = $10.8 million for MacKinnon's next contract. Eric Johnson's $6 million (less $1 million veteran minimum if he re-signs) will go to Byram and Newhook's extension. There isn't anything "extra" to add a guy like Schmaltz (who makes $850k more than Girard).
7) The Avs are going to commit long-term to their Top 6 forwards and Top 5 defenseman for their cup window and then fill in the rest as best they can with minimal contracts.
Landeskog-MacKinnon-Rantanen; Lehkonen-Newhook-Nichushkin; Toews-Makar; Girard-Manson; and Byram. I think they see Byram as Toews eventual replacement in 2024-25 since the cap won't increase enough by then. Adding anymore large/long contracts completely blows that up.