Theordore Options

I was trying to save this until after the Stanley cup playoffs, but in lieu of the report in the Denver Post today, well now seems like as good a time as ever to talk about it.

Obviously Theodre does not facto into the Avalanche long-term plans. The Avs hooped he would bounce back to his normal form in a new, less-pressure situation, but they failed to realize being the heir apparent to Patrick Roy is what did him in in Montréal, so they thought bringing him in to be the heri apparent to Partick Roy in Colorado would produce different results. It didn't.

So the way I see it, the Avs have 3 options. We'll start with the one I think is the least likely and least wise.

Buyout Theodore and take the Cap hit all next season. The pros to this option is you get to cut your losses and move on. You still save money on the cap ($4M cap hit to buyout compared to a $5.3M cap hit to keep him on the roster). The cons are that you need to sign a vetren backup, which is going to eat up any savings that you may have. This in effect means this choice is about moving on. Not that this is a bad option, it's very safe.

Option 2: Buyout Theodore and prorate the cap hit to $2M for the next 2 years This ption would give the Avs the most options. It will give them even more cap space this summer, enough to sign a vetren netminder and another decent player for $1-2M. To me this seems to be the option that most Avs fans prefer. I don't blame them, as this is very attractive.

However, this option has it's flaws. As of right now, the Avs have exactly 5 players signed through the 08/09 season (2 seasons away) (Budaj, Hejduk, Stasny, Skrastins and the prospect Kumisky). All those young players that the Avs have (Wolski, Liles, Leopold, Clark, Arnason, Richardson, Finger) will be at least restricted free agents before Theodore's contract is up. Not to mention bringing in Free agents and vetrens to fill in some holes. How mad would we be 2 years down the road if prorating $2M in cap room was the reason we couldn't resign Wolski? Or what if we could get a top notch free-agent (Iginla's contract is up soon) with another $2M in cap room a year from now?

Another thing to look at is all the available money the Avs have. This year there's going to be a significant jump in the salary cap ($4-5M), plus Rob Blake and Joe Sakic's bonuses come off the books ($4.5M) Plus the contracts of Konowalchuck, Brisbois, and Turgeon are also off the books ($5.65M). That's close to $15M in cap money the Avs have this year to resign players, and sign free agents. Do we need the extra $2M? I would argue that to would be better to save that until next year, when we don't have all that money coming in.

Which brings us to the third, and in my opinion best, option for Theodore.
Keep him this season If we keep him for this season we get the vetren backup we would need if we bought him out. By all accounts he's a good locker room guy and he has worked well with Budaj. sure we have a crappy backup, but the Avs have enough worries in main positions to worry just yet about backup goalies, a warm body (even a $5.3M cap hit warm body) is fine for next year. This also allows us a little bit of a trading chip come trade deadline. Is there a team out there that could use a $5.3M expiring contract, in exchange for a good player who is signed for another year or two? we won't know until playoff time, but this is a possibility.

Another possibility is that we (And Theodore) uses next season as an audition. If he plays poorly, well then we have a poor backup goalie, like 1/2 the teams in the league. If he plays well (a BIG if) he becomes at least marginally valuable to a playoff team with shakey goaltending. You think Tampa Bay would like to roll the dice with a playoff run of Theo as opposed to their crappy goalies? even if all the Avs get is a 3rd round pick... it's a huge win.

Then after the season they get $5.3M off the books. meaning they can sign significant free agents in 2 straight seasons, a huge win. Another benefit is that they get to save that buyout, in case one fo the free agents they sign this summer doesn't quite panout (Say Forsberg stays injury-prone for example)

Yes, if Budaj goes down, the Avs are relying on Theo next season next season, but is that a gamble worth taking? Is there really a goalie out there this season, besides Giguere, that you would really feel comfterble with?

The good news is that none of the above options are terrible. The avs are in pretty good shape any way they go, but I think option three has the most benefits with very little risk

4 comments:

  1. Funny thing about backup goalies, they tend to surprise people with their ability to fill in when the starter goes down. The Islanders were so enamored with Dubie's short stint in place of DiPietro that they immediately signed him to a new deal.

    I think anyone but Theodore could fill in as an adequate backup if Budaj were to get hurt.

    Now, an alternative perspective about goalie roles on the Avs: Coach Q has a tendency to switch up the goalies at random times. A couple of times early last season, Coach Q benched Budaj for Theodore just when Budaj was getting comfortable in net.

    It's no secret that Q isn't a huge booster for goalies in general, and I'm afraid that he will continue to try to get the team's worth out of Theodore by playing him more than he should, thus undercutting Budaj and hurting the team overall.

    He would be less likely to do that with a cheaper backup of whom less is expected.

    Does that make sense? It's kind of a half-formed thought at this point anyway, so thanks for bearing with me.

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  2. No I understand the logic behind it, but the thing is, once you factor in the buyout from the contract, you won't get a cheaper backup.

    Honestly I think the best backup out there, the one that would fit their needs perfectly next season, is Kevin Weekes. But with the buyout and his salary you won't be saving any money at all.

    And yes, Q's tendancy to be fickle with goalies does hurt the team (it's the only thing I don't like about him as a coach). That being said it could work the other way too, that saince Theodore is a bad backup, Q will more than likely stay with Budaj even when he struggles a little because he has nothing better to go to.

    "Funny thing about backup goalies, they tend to surprise people with their ability to fill in when the starter goes down."

    Also maybe what Theo needs is no pressure, just being a bacckup a little while. It's about the only thing that hasn't been tried yet.

    I hope no one gathers that I think Theo is worth the risk on the ice. I think he's terrible, and he's not very good at all. I just think the best solution is to just suck up one more year of his contract and be done with it.

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  3. The only way the Avs would be worse off by getting rid of Theodore is if the buyout and the replacement goalie's salary is MORE than what they're currently paying Theodore.

    If it's the same amount or just a little less, the Avs are better off because they're rid of Theodore and can rely on somebody else to be backup.

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  4. From what I'm seeing, with the money they are going to save with the Sakic/Blake bonuses, etc, I'd be buying out Theodore right away and taking the hit next season. Just to make him go away.
    What goalies do you have in your system?
    Isn't it fair to say that Budaj is ready right now to take over #1, or does he need to be challenged by a bonafide backup?

    How often was Theo playing during the Avs' miracle run towards the end of the season?

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