One of the big subplots going into the season, and indeed the biggest question mark, is: Can Peter Budaj be bona-fide #1 goalie?
We will cover that question in the coming weeks as we get closer to the season, but the question is a legitimate one, and one the Avs coaches management obviously have had to ask themselves more than once. So the question is, IF the answer turns out to be NO what has Francois Giguere done to cover that possibility?
After reading two posts over on Mile High Hockey (here and here) and after looking at a lot of the moves the Avs have made this summer, the smaller minor leaguers they have signed to fill out the Lake Erie roster and such, I think Giguere has set himself up quite nicely to trade for Ducks current #2 Ilya Bryzgalov.
What would it take to pry the netminder from the Ducks (if we need to)? Last season the Ducks had 3 superstar defensemen (Niedermeyer, Pronger, Beauchemin) contributions from a solid defensmen, Shawn O'Donnell, and occasional shifts from two scrubs Huskins and DiPienta. An injury to any of the top 4 probably would mean the Red Wings would have won the Cup, so here's to their health last season. Defensive depth would really help the Ducks, and if Niedermeyer retires (which is increasingly likely) There's no question that, even with the addition of Mathieu Schneider, the Ducks would be short on the blueline. Any injuries and their blueline is toast.
The Avs happen to have a crowded blueline with Liles, Leopold, Hannan, Finger, Skrastins, Clark, and Sauer (not to mention nearly ready Kumisky, and recently acquired Wyatt Smith). Of those Karlis Skrastins seems to be the odd man out, and would also fit nicely with the Ducks Defense.
If the Ducks were to trade away Bryzzy they would obviously like a backup netminder. Again IF Budaj doesn't work out, he would still be a decent backup, so he would be gone. (Giguere would be stupid not to ask if Burke wanted Theo instead, but they'd share a good chuckle and then Budaj would be in).
The Ducks probably also need a young goal scorer to make up for the loss of both Selanne and Dustin Penner. The Avs are loaded with scoring talent in their farm system. They could trade away odd-man out Marek Svatos, or dig into their farm system and trade Ryan Stoa or Cody Burki (I think Hensik is nearly untouchable)
As for Bryzgalov, what he's going to want is a nice fat paycheck and the unquestioned starter's role (which he deserves). Well José Theodore's $6M cheerleader salary is off the books at the end of the season, leaving the Avs with plenty of money to sign a good goalie (Be it Bryzzy or Budaj) to a nice long extension.
So there you have it, the Avs could trade away Skrastins, Budaj, and a young forward for Bryzgolav and maybe a draft pick. The trade helps both teams, and minimizes the damage each takes. The Avs would also have a #1 goalie for years to come.
Oh yeah, he's funny as hell too:
Bryzgalov Revisited (Mile High Hockey)
Peter Budaj: The Most Important Av? (Mile High Hockey)
Bryzgalov: Edmonton "is like North Pole" (NHL Fanhouse)