Enforcing the Avalanche

By pbadmin

When talking about the depth and positioning of the Colorado Avalanche over the last 2 seasons, there is one topic that is somewhat of a touchy concern: The lack of an enforcer. 2 seasons ago, after trading disgruntled winger Chris Simon, the Avs thought that they had the replacement in former Isles defenseman Brent Severyn. When he failed to make a lasting impression on the roster, he was left to be taken by the Ducks. Last season, the Avs once again thought that they had a solution when they signed Las Vegas Thunder (IHL) and former Denver Grizzlies winger Jason Simon. When he failed to even make the Avs roster, and struggled to stay on the Hershey(AHL) roster, the Avs were forced to trade a 3rd round pick to Pittsburgh to acquire cheap-shot artist Francois Leroux, and when that failed, they traded prized Czech center Jozef Marha to Anaheim to re-acquire former Avs winger Warren Rychel. Where are these players now? Brent Severyn has recently signed with the Dallas Stars after a lackluster stay with the Ducks. Jason Simon will attend the Avs training camp in Colorado Springs and Vail, but will likely spend the rest of his contractual obligation in Hershey. Francois Leroux is an unrestricted free agent, and has not been invited to the Avs Camp. Maybe he’ll spend the 98-99 season in a religious convent, begging for Pat LaFontaine’s forgiveness. Warren Rychel will probably make the team, but only for his leadership skills.

Enter Scott Parker, one of “The Big Four” 1998 1st rounders drafted by the Avs. Last season, he scored 30 goals and amassed 243 penalty minutes. While the number of minutes is not too astounding, the number of goals sure makes up for that. The Avs have much hope for Parker, in that Pierre Lacroix has already signed him to a lucrative rookie contract (something New Jersey couldn’t do when they originally drafted him in the third round of ’96.) While the Avs are in desperate need of a player with a physical touch, they have more than just Parker in the wings. With both of the Banging Belak Brothers (Wade & Graham) and 1997 pick Kevin Grimes on the way, the Avs now seem to have another depth position covered.