Liles, Foote Re-sign with the Avalanche - Colorado Avalanche Updates, News and Game Reviews at Avs Talk

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Liles, Foote Re-sign with the Avalanche

(Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
TSN is reporting that John-Michael Liles and Adam Foote have re-signed with the Colorado Avalanche. The terms for Liles are believed to be 4-years at around $4 million per year while Foote is on a 2-year deal at $3 million per year.

I was a bit surprised to learn of the signings. I was actually about to make a post questioning the labeling of Jeff Finger as a "puck-moving defenseman" in Darren Dreger's latest blog when this popped up on the TSN front page. After a dramatic double-take, I decided the signings were a bit more important to cover.

John "The Model" Liles
Liles was a question mark heading into free agency for the Avalanche. He didn't have a great year offensively but most - including myself - felt his defensive game improved significantly. There was a bit of trepidation that he would sign elsewhere and we'd be left with Kyle Cumiskey as our next great hope for an offensive d-man.

The one thing Liles needs to work on is being the powerplay quarterback he is expected to be. Last season he put up 20 points (5G, 15A) on the powerplay. While those aren't horrible numbers, they are not entirely what I'd expect from the #1 D-man on the #1 PP unit. And that's taking into account how ineffective the Avalanche powerplay was last season.

It was believed that he could sign in the $4-$5 million per year neighbourhood with another team. I think it could have easily been $5M so I'm happy to have him back with a $4M price tag. As long as he keeps improving.

Adam Foote brought in a huge veteran and physical presence at the trade deadline last year. The Avalanche defense had been lauded as a bit soft even with the acquisition of Hannan. However when Foote arrived - and Ruslan Salei for that matter - things turned around quickly. When Adam Foote is on the ice he is angry. It doesn't matter who he plays against, he skates around with a look of hate on his face at all times. I love it!

He is getting up there in age but a 2-year deal is just fine by me. People claim he lost a step or two lately but it's not like he was ever Pavel Bure or Kyle Cumiskey. Whoever thought you'd put those two in the same sentence.

I'm very happy to have Foote back not just for nostalgia sake but for the Chuck Norris mentality he brings to his game. That's right, Footer only has two speeds: skate and kill.

Defensive Line
So where does this leave the Avalanche's defensive line? Full actually. Liles, Clark, Hannan, Salei, Foote and Leopold are now all under contract for next season leaving between zero and one slots available. That one extra slot, lovingly known as the "press box slot", could be filled in by re-signing Jeff Finger but I fully expect him and Kurt Sauer to hit free agency to go somewhere where they will play every night. Yes, yes, Leopold will be injured two games into the season and they can take his spot. Ha ha ha ;)

The Cap
This puts the Avalanche's current defense at a cap hit of about $20M at the moment. Is it a $20M squad? We'll have to wait for the rest of the teams to finalize their rosters to adequately judge that. At the moment, I'm mildly skeptical with a healthy dose of optimism.

This leaves the team with around $37M in total commitments leaving them about $19M to finish off the forwards and deal with the goaltending situation.

If you still believe Sakic is coming back, which I do, then the team is looking at about $14M for the rest of the squad which includes locking up RFAs Marek Svatos and Wojtek Wolski. That doesn't leave a ton of space so don't be looking for a big free agent splash like last year.

Kyle Cumiskey
Of course, where does this leave Kyle Cumiskey. He's essentially Liles with a babyface and faster wheels. He's toiled down in the AHL for the last couple seasons with a few stints with the big club. When he was up, he was impressive with the caveat that we forgave his defensive errors to a certain degree because he was young and inexperienced.

Well, initially I was going to bemoan a soft defense because Foote had yet to sign. Now that Foote has signed I'm happier with the toughness of the D and actually hope Cumiskey doesn't make the team out of training camp is it would mean a lot of press box viewings and not a lot of action.

Relax much?
There was some hand-wringing going on over the lack of updates from the Avalanche camp. What people often forget is that this team is like the CIA when it comes to giving out information. I was surprised we were as in the loop on the Theodore situation as we were. But after signing two key defenseman to some pretty solid contracts, are people ready to calm down yet? Probably not.

Related Links
Avalanche Re-sign Liles
Avalanche Re-sign Foote


Jibblescribbits said...

He's essentially Liles with a babyface

Does that make Liles an "awkward pre-teen" face, cause I would have made Liles the babyfaced guy.

Shane Giroux said...

I've still gotta give it to Cumiskey in the babyface department but it is close.

Liles headshot from '03

Cumiskey headshot from '07

Of course if I went with the headshot of Cumiskey from '06 it's no contest ;)

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