Monday, October 22, 2007

Post-Roy: The Revolving Door of Mediocrity

Before I begin, let me say that I understand guys like Roy don't come around very often. For every game-stealing goaltender, there's another 15-25 good-but-not-great guys that can keep your team in it, but they'll rarely if ever single-handedly win games. This may be controversial at best, but in my opinion there are two of those still in the game today: Martin Brodeur and Roberto Luongo.

Having said that however, it would be nice to see the Avs have even that not-quite-great goalie that can keep us in the game. Since Roy retired after the 02-03 season, we have seen 6 different goaltenders, 3 of which have been our "starters" in those three (and a bit) seasons. I understand that I may be preaching to the choir here, as I've been lucky enough to have been able to have a goalie like St.Patrick anchor my team for a good 8 seasons while other fans have spent their years frustrated with their teams goaltending, but my patience is quickly wearing thin.

When Roy retired, David Aebischer became the first of the shaky goaltenders that would find themselves starting for the Avs. Abby had already been the backup to Roy for 3 years prior to Patrick's retirement, so he was already somewhat familiar with the team. However, this obviously also meant that he would have big shoes to fill, especially since the Avs added Kariya and Selanne in the offseason. Long story short, Abby's tending was good, but not great, and we had a second round exit in the playoffs.

The season after that (ie. the year after the lockout) was even less stable. Aebischer struggled as a starter, and we saw the team go through a phase of a rotation of three goaltenders: Abby, Peter Budaj, and Vitaly Kolesnik. While each had their moments, none of them really stood out, and we eventually saw Abby cast off to Montreal for the overpaid and underachieving Jose Theodore, who became the de facto starter for the rest of that season and, thanks to some uninspired play by the Stars, a second round exit from the playoffs once again.

Last season began much the way the 05-06 season ended. We saw some rare moments of great goaltending from Theodore, but overall it was fairly dismal and we saw ourselves falling further and further behind in the playoff race. Then, almost out of nowhere, Budaj started to show signs that he could keep us in games, and in fact was our starter for almost the entire streak that saw us come to within one point of making it into the playoffs.

That streak, and Budaj's role in it, gave many Avs fans (myself included) hope over the offseason that we had finally found a plausible starting goalie that would bring us back to the playoffs. Apparently that was all it was, hopeful thinking. Now of course I can't truly judge eight games into the season, but so far we've seen inconsistent and shaky goaltending from both Budaj and Theo, which is what has led me to write this poorly researched, poorly written, and pointless rant, but hey, I'm sure at least a few of you will read it and laugh. Sigh.


Eggshmeg said...

It's safe to say I've been disappointed with Budaj so far this season. The Avs don't really have much in terms of goaltending prospects coming up, does that have you worried?

Avsfan19 said...

Not necessarily worried, and I assume they won't be drafting anyone worth noting anytime soon either. They'll probably just trade for one at some point, whether or not that's a good idea.

Anonymous said...

a year later however an it looks like theodore is the come back player of the year, it would appear he has returned almost fully to his vezina state he was in with the habs