After a thrilling and emotional playoff run we all have some thoughts on where the beloved Avs ended up and how they got there. It’s also fun for me to give some time and space to our loyal readers so here’s our good friend Forsberger with some praise for Joe. Enjoy!
Can We Finally Give Joe Sakic Some Credit?
Yes, Joe Sakic has made mistakes. Yes, there is plenty of room for improvement: on small details, on drafting and prospect development (especially the management of Eagles prospects). But Joe Sakic has put together a solid hockey team with a bright future.
A number of the moves that many, including me, were skeptical of at the time have turned out to be good additions. Ian Cole and Matt Calvert both proved to be solid contributors and playoff warriors. Colin Wilson provided some needed depth and grit, and scored key goals in the playoffs. Grubauer looks like the real deal, and with Varly’s future uncertain that trade now seems more important than ever. Even universally panned trade deadline acquisition Derick Brassard partially redeemed himself with really good game 7, including a monster play and assist on (what should have been) the tying goal. Even though Soderberg and Kerfoot (two players signed as free agents) couldn’t buy a goal, their play was still important to the team’s success.
Players brought in from the O’Reilly trade proved to be instrumental pieces, from Zadorov keeping opponents honest with his patented Zmashes to JTC going into hero mode to win Game 5. Far from all the pieces in the Duchene trade have come to fruition (including this year’s #4 overall pick), but 20 year old defenseman Samuel Girard is already a solid top-4 D-man with a bright future. Even the selection of Jost at the #10 spot seems to be paying dividends, with his play turning a corner recently. Sakic made a gutsy call to bring in Cale Makar straight from college into the playoffs, inserting a rookie straight into a heated playoff battle and also possibly losing his expansion draft exemption eligibility; but it paid off ten times over and was absolutely the right call.
Facing the adversity the Avs did this season, still making the playoffs, easily handling the top seed in the West and losing by only one goal in game 7 to the best team left in the West is an achievement that should not be overlooked.
With Mackinnon firmly established as one of the very best players in the league, along with his two fearsome line-mates, two 20 year old defensemen who will be cornerstones of the Avs blue line for a decade and a solid goaltender just entering his prime, Sakic has built a foundation for success. There is still work to be done (filling out the roster with home-grown prospects especially) but it feels like the ship is finally his heading in the right direction. So I say: can we finally give Joe Sakic some credit?
What say you dear reader?