The Colorado Avalanche need defense.
Saying this is tantamount to saying "the pope is catholic." Everybody knows it but the ways to affect change to last year's defense but there is one option that has not been discussed.
Looking at the names available in free agency, they look to be duct tape on the Avs' defensive problems. Some like Ron Hainsey or Andrew Ference could help but not sure if they would help long term. For years now the vs have been putting duct tape on their defense but it might be time to take the boat into drydock and repair the leak. Hainsey and Ference would be upgrades over Greg Zanon but that's not really saying much.
If the Avs want to fix their defense through free agency, maybe it would be wise for them to wait a year. This could always change with re-signings, extensions or trades- or a little of all three but the defensemen that will be provisionally available is enticing.
Dion Phaneuf and Kris Letang head the list with Brooks Orpik, Niklas Hjamarsson, Jay Bouwmeester, Dan Girardi and Dan Boyle on the list. 2014 looks to be rich in defensemen and especially the kind that the Avs need. Phaneuf would be a good left handed compliment to Erik Johnson and Hjalmarsson would be a good player for one of Tyson Barrie or Stefan Elliott, both of whom the Avs still have a lot of faith.
Phaneuf would be expensive if he hits the market but he is big, plays powerplay, plays with grit and would compliment Johnson perfectly and Hjalmarsson has won two Stanley Cups as a perfect top four defensemen who can play in all situations. Add that to the three right handed defensemen the Avs have and the Avs' defense has a lot more stability. If Duncan Siemens transitions well to the NHL game, the Avs have a stout defense that looks like this:
That looks a lot better than:
I would be tough to wait for this kind of solution, excruciating to watch anything like last year's defense. That said it could be the right move, long term. In the 2014 offseason, the Avs would have their core locked down, some of the dead weight on defense will be heading toward free agency, allowing the Avs to plan for a long term solution.
Does this sound like a realistic idea? Or is just more of the same blind explanation?