Are goaltender Alexandar Georgiev’s lean shoulders strong enough to support the dreams of the Avalanche dynasty? – The Fort Morgan Times

Winning the Stanley Cup was easy. For their next big trick, the Avs will set up Jenga blocks on the ice, then see how many pieces of a championship puzzle they dare to remove without it all collapsing on their skates.

At the center of it all, with the dreams of a hockey dynasty poised precariously on his thin, untested shoulders, is new goaltender Alexandar Georgiev.

“The team is unreal. They just won the Cup,” Georgiev said on Tuesday. “They have the same goal for the next few years… (It’s) a chance I’ve always dreamed of.”

As NHL free agency looms, having already said goodbye to championship goaltender Darcy Kuemper, the Avs could also lose playoff hero Nazem Kadri, tough defenseman Josh Manson and forward Andre Burakovsky.

“We’re obvious in a salary cap world and…teams like to chase the winners,” Joe Sakic said.

Sakic celebrated the championship by stepping back from the day-to-day responsibility of retooling Colorado’s roster and wisely launched himself upstairs with a spiffy new title: President of Hockey Operations.

It takes 16 tough wins to win the Cup.

The number of playoff games won by Georgiev: zero.

No pressure, young man. We can call you Georgi, can’t we?

“My name has been Georgi for a few years. I’m pretty comfortable with it,” Georgiev said in a videoconference from Finland, where he likes to spend his summer.

The Avalanche front office, with Sakic working alongside Chris MacFarland, promoted this week to general manager, has shown uncommon confidence in Georgiev.

Colorado shipped three draft picks to acquire a 26-year-old backup goaltender from the New York Rangers, then immediately rewarded Georgiev with a three-year contract worth an average of $3.4 million a year.

Rather than worrying, it might be easier to trust the process. Over the past seven years, Sakic has time and time again swindled rival general managers to build a championship roster.

But this deal looks like the boldest bet Sakic has ever made. It’s a gamble, no doubt. I’d bet that’s possibly the biggest risk we’ve seen with a champion Colorado team since Mike Shanahan handed the keys to the Broncos offense to a young, unproven quarterback named Brian Griese in 1999. .

How did it end?

OK, the football gods have conspired against Griese. Supported by Cale Makar and Nathan MacKinnon, two of the top 10 players in the league, it looks like Georgiev has been put in a much better position to not only succeed, but also thrive.

But he arrives in Colorado with the emotional baggage of a battered ego. As an understudy for Vezina Trophy winner Igor Shesterkin in New York, Georgiev was so uncomfortable and inconsistent in his role that he asked Rangers general manager Chris Drury to kick him out of the Big Apple.

“I haven’t had many opportunities to play games,” Georgiev said. “Stanley Cup champions believe in you and believe you are the guy. That’s all I ever wanted. It’s great to hear that this team has confidence in me. I work hard to prove them right.

The quick closure of that trade, along with Sakic’s long relationship with former teammate Drury, suggests that if the Avs weren’t already planning a move to Georgiev in the Stanley Cup Finals, Sakic certainly anticipated Kuemper driving. a fire truck in the victory parade straight out of Denver.

Georgiev has 58 regular-season NHL wins and a respectable .908 save percentage on his resume. But hockey analytics aren’t so kind to him, especially over the past two seasons, when his number of quality starts has fallen below 50% and scoring against him in low-danger situations has revealed a tendency to give up easy goals.

If Georgiev can give the Avs a capable replacement for Kuemper, who has proven this team can win a championship without a truly elite goalie, it will be another steal of a deal by Sakic.

But should Georgiev prove himself unworthy of serving as a legitimate No. 1 between the pipes?

Well, his $3.4 million salary will be considered a bad investment. And Sakic, who willingly stepped back from the day-to-day duties of GM just as a tsunami of unrestricted free agents guaranteed a serious roster shakeup, can go fishing, while morons like me blame MacFarland.

“I don’t know if I’ll go fishing,” Sakic said with a laugh.

Laughter comes easily to Super Joe, as it should. After 21 long years, he brought the Cup back to Colorado.

It’s MacFarland who has to figure out how to stop the Jenga blocks from crashing.

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