Grubi Dubi Doo and the Familiars

Apr 12, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Colorado Avalanche goaltender Devan Dubnyk (40) celebrates after defeating the Arizona Coyotes at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

There was some debate on Saturday, when Joe Sakic and Co. pulled the trigger on their first deadline-adjacent trade, about whether the move was something the fanbase could stomach.

I found out about the deal, shipping defenseman Greg Pateryn and a 2021 fifth-round selection off for veteran goalie Devan Dubnyk, while live on the air, and my immediate reaction was that it was an addition quite above the caliber of player that I expected.

Silly me. I had also completely forgotten that this was a man that Avalanche fans LOVED to hate. Forget the fact that he was simply 19-16-1 against his new squad, posting a respectable .923 save percentage and a decent 2.50 goals against average during that stretch. It was his all-too-frequent wins for the loathsome Minnesota Wild, during the lean years and the season-that-shall-not-be-named, as well as his fiery confrontations in the more recent losses, when the trajectories of the two opposing clubs had basically switched, that had firmly established him as the current Public Enemy No. 1 for the burgundy and blue loyalists.

“It’s crazy to think back, all the rowdy nights we had on the other side in Denver,” the 34-year-old Canadian said when asked about it by the great Adrian Dater. “It’s an exciting opportunity for me. Obviously one of the best teams in the league, and I’ve been on the other side of the firepower many times. So it’s nice to be on the right side.”

His addition to the lineup makes this team an absolute contender for the greatest trophy in all of sports, and whether people hate him for being a passionate competitor that once played for a current rival or not, he is exactly what can help this team in the absence of Philipp Grubauer.

After a couple of good games, most fans likely won’t even remember the before times.

In maybe the best-case scenario for fans of the current iteration of the Avalanche, the team stayed mostly intact during the trade deadline. But, as expected, the organization added some depth players—guys everyone should be familiar with.

Former Avs Patrik Nemeth and Carl Soderberg are back in the fold, both no doubt thrilled to be reunited with a club looking to shoot to the moon this year. And while the moves may have initially seemed perplexing, given the fact that the club seems hardly challenged by any team in the West Division at the moment, they make sense when looking at the big picture.

With very little time to conduct complete practices and hardly, if any, hands-on coaching opportunities between now and the end of the schedule, bringing in players who know how Jared Bednar likes to run things helps the whole machine stay fluid and dangerous. Also, the absences of Erik Johnson, a veteran defenseman’s defenseman, and Matt Calvert, a gritty, vital role-player, left gaps in the lineup that can only be filled so efficiently by the young guys on the team.

“It was a position of need, the needs we felt we needed to address. Especially depth wise, you can never have enough depth at any position,” Sakic said of his reasoning. “It was nice that guys we were familiar with were available to us, and we think all those guys are going to be a really good fit for what we’re trying to do. The bottom line is the guys we got are all tremendous character guys, great teammates, and it’s just going to add to the chemistry we feel we already have in the dressing room.”

“We wanted to make sure we had that big body, defending body that can eat up some penalty killing minutes so we can rest of our the other guys. And Carl, same thing. We wanted to add some depth and we know what Carl brings. Another popular guy, he can come in and penalty kill, play a big role. He’s a big guy and can definitely help our bottom six.”

Both guys bring competency to their roles, and each provides the opportunity to rest key players down this grueling stretch of 14 games in 24 days. Neither is immediately necessary, but they add value should an injury or bad stretch arise.

This is a shot for Colorado to win it all, and it may perhaps be the franchise’s best since 2002—a year the team SHOULD HAVE repeated but fell short. Yet there is room for concern about just how long this new win-now window will stay open. Certainly, there are young men knocking on the door of NHL stardom, ready for the chance to prove themselves, but Sakic said that the financial structure is going to have to change at the conclusion of this run.

“I think this is as deep a team as we’re going to have here, where we can have four lines. We’re really deep, and we’re going to have to get cheaper, starting next year, at some of those positions,” he said in his intimate Zoom call with the local media ranks. “From management, I know fans and everybody in the dressing room believes this is the time we need to compete for the Stanley Cup.”

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