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Colorado Avalanche

The Avalanche may let John-Michael Liles walk

From Adrian Dater of the Denver Post:

Personally, I think it would be a drastic mistake to let Liles just go for nothing. Look back on some of your playoff game tapes from this year, and tell me that Liles wasn’t their best defenseman much of the time. At least, when it came to getting the puck out of the zone and up the ice, he was.

Are they really going to just hand over Liles’ role to Kyle Cumiskey? I think that’s a mistake at this point. Cumiskey still has a LOT to learn in his own end. Yeah, he’s got great wheels and can get the puck out probably even faster than Liles. But he was turnover-prone at times with the Avs, and the fact is he’s still never scored an NHL goal.

A lot of NHL scouts and GMs think very highly of Liles, so if he’s left unrestricted July 1, I think you can expect a mini-feeding frenzy for his services. Maybe the Avs don’t think they can afford him – and keep everybody else they want to keep. But I think Liles should be a higher priority to sign over guys like Sauer and Finger.

Read the entire entry from All Things Avs here.

I agree with Dater. This should be one of the Avalanche’s top priorities heading into the off-season. Liles is a smooth-skating, puck-moving defenseman, who can quarterback the power play. Those players don’t grow on trees. To let him go for nothing would be a poor move on their part.