Open Letter to the Colorado Avalanche

Dear Avs,

If you say you're going to do something, and then do something else, that makes you a hypocrite.  If you claim to believe in something, and contradict that belief, then you're not, if you'll forgive the phrase, practising what you preach, and, thus, a hypocrite.

If you say you're going to draft the best player available and then pick according to need, you're not picking the best player available.

If you say that you draft for skill and then pass up on the most skilled defenseman in the draft for a less skilled, but bigger and "meaner" defenseman, you're not drafting for skill.

This isn't a criticism of the Avs' draft, but an observation.

For the past several months (years, really, but let's ignore past drafts), we've been told that the Avalanche drafting strategy is BPA over need:
...the organization will stick to its draft strategy of picking the best talent and won't try to address a specific need, said Rick Pracey, the club's director of amateur scouting.
"The best player available is certainly the way we do build our list," Pracey said on a conference call Monday morning.
Does Gabriel Landeskog fit that criteria, or were all those Landeskog-to-the-Avs predictions driven by anything other than the fact you're supposedly short on tough wingers?  (Those that predicted Jonathan Huberdeau, for example, were doing so under the assumption that the Avs would, you know, draft the most skilled player).

In the Denver Post, Pracey had this to say:
Skill, instinct and competitiveness are the key traits we look for.
...and size, and meanness, and grit?  None of those are bad traits, but they aren't the traits you mention as a priority, either.  If you weren't looking for skill, but size, all along, why didn't you let us all know before the most offensively-gifted defenseman in the draft fell into your laps?  Avs fans familiar with your (alleged) drafting strategy could see it coming from a kilometre mile away - so much so that we were getting ready for it.  It was was perfect: Avs eschew need, stick to BPA and take a veritable stud that had no place dropping beyond the 10th spot.  It was Ryan O'Reilly and Joey Hishon all over again.  And then...

Oh, man.  My face turned red with embarrassment.  What happened?  Honestly, I was stunned that you ended up passing on Ryan Murphy, but not because you passed on him, but that, for the second time, you went against everything you said you would do. 

I admit, Landeskog and Duncan Siemans were not the players I wanted, because when it came to looking at prospects, I felt there was no way you'd take them.  But if I had known you were just going to draft according to need, I may have been fine with it, and all that time spent on scouting more talented players could have gone towards a more useful something.  And, oh, convincing myself that you weren't going to succumb to the temptation of drafting the heir to Forsberg (sorry, there will only ever be one Peter Forsberg) a prematurely-developed Swede but take someone like the high-skilled, high-character Huberdeau with his apparently "crazy hands" and unbelievable ceiling, because that's the type of player you keep saying you want... how foolish that was, how easily it could have been avoided.

I've learned my lesson, though.  Don't worry.  I get it, now.  You're a bunch of hypocrites.  You aren't drafting for skill, after all.  You aren't after the best player available.  I totally get it.  And that's fine.  Seriously.  Draft the players you want and, for we are loyal fans (at least, I'm assuming we are.  We are, right?  Right?), we will completely get behind them and support them (no, not in that way).  Unless it's, like, the love child that came out of Todd Bertuzzi and Kris Kraper's weekend discovering Denver, of course.  But don't lie to us about your intentions.  Don't try to paint a different shade over it.  Don't spend the entire fucking year trying to deceive us.

Drafting for need may be a strategy I deplore, but I'm willing to defer to the experts here and give you the benefit of the doubt.  You don't have to be afraid of the truth, just let it out: you drafted for need.  It's okay.  Come here.  It's okay.  I like Gabriel, too.  Yeah, I know he has really blonde hair.  No, I didn't know he was ripped, but that's okay, too.  Come on.  It's okay.  It's okay.  Just take that dog out, wipe that silly paint from its face, and let us see it for what it is.

Irrelevant, Disgruntled Blogger

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