What to do with Theodore?


Last night’s spectacular performance by Peter Budaj only showed the national Versus-watching audience (insert your own joke here) what Avs fans have known for some time — Peter Budaj is Colorado’s goaltending solution, not Jose Theodore. It’s not just numbers, though Budaj’s 2.58 GAA and .909 save percentage are considerably better than Theodore’s. No, it’s the sheer unpredictable nature of Theodore’s performance, in addition to Budaj’s positionally sound technique and clutch saves have given him starts in every game since December 30th. In fact, Theodore’s only ice time since then was a mop-up job in 7-3 disaster against Calgary.

Budaj’s recent run has produced reasonable results with a record of 4-3-1. In the meantime, Theodore and his monster contract sit.

Pierre Lacroix, the former Avalanche GM who pulled off many sparkling trades during his tenure, left new GM Francois Giguere with a huge monkey on his back. Theodore hasn’t been a disaster of Dan Cloutier proportions, but he’s hardly shown any of the form that won him the Vezina and Hart Trophies. By the way, those trophies were won in, um, 2002. Since then, here’s Theodore actually played reasonably well until last season’s disaster season.

What does that mean? Not a heck of a lot other than Theodore’s career hasn’t crashed and burned to a Jim Carey-level disaster…but it’s still pretty crappy. That still doesn’t solve the big issue at hand — big, as in $6 million big.

The simple truth is that no one wants Theodore, and why should they?. His salary makes him next-to-impossible to move, even for teams with significant cap space. His contract lasts through the end of next year, meaning that there are several paths the Avs can follow:

-They can hold on to Theodore and hope against hope that getting squeezed out of the #1 position by Budaj can somehow motivate him to get better. If nothing else, they can rest assured knowing that he’ll have plenty of money to buy all of the hair care products he needs.

-They can waive him and hope that someone takes him for free. Unfortunately, he’s not even worth that at this point.

-They can offer an asset, such as a 1st round pick, to a team that is willing to take the hit with cap space. This would be similar to the Vladimir Malakhov to San Jose trade.

-They can waive him, send him to the minors, and bring him back up through re-entry waivers. At that point, his contract will only cost a team picking him up $3 million for the 07-08 season with $3 million absorbed by the Avs.

Now, the new CBA is filled with all sorts of really strange loopholes and legal speak, so if anyone out there’s actually read AND understood the CBA, feel free to chime in on the comments. There may be one other option, but I’m not 100% clear on whether this is doable. When John Leclair was sent to the minors, he refused to report and the Penguins gave him his unconditional release. However, the Pens were still on board for his cap hit. I believe if the Avs just want his butt out of there (even though they’d have to take the cap hit), they could force him to go to the minors and if he refuses, the contract could be null and void. Is there a CBA expert in the house?

The biggest problem is that there are plenty of other goaltending options for teams that are much more attractive than Theodore. Buffalo, San Jose, and Anaheim still have tradeable depth in goal, and even problem goalies such as Martin Gerber, Dan Cloutier, and Marc Denis could all be grabbed for less of a cap hit, especially if the teams put them through the waiver process. At this point, is the upside for Martin Gerber really much less than Theodore? I’m guessing no.

The ugly truth at this point is that Pierre Lacroix gambled and lost big time. The goaltending duo of David Aebischer and Peter Budaj would be just as good and probably better and the team would have significantly more cap space. In fact, maybe they could have actually kept Alex Tanguay or tried to resign Rob Blake.

Instead, Avs fans are stuck with a big hunk of useless cap space on the bench. Hey, at least they can say that they have the only NHL player to make out with Paris Hilton (at least publicly).


5 Responses to “What to do with Theodore?”

  1. 1 Tom Benjamin

    They can waive him and send him to the minors and leave him there. they have to pay him, but there is no cap hit. if he refuses to report like LeClair, he’s suspended and then he doesn’t get paid and the AVs don’t have any cap hit.

    I’m not sure about LeClair. If he is on the second year of a multi year contract he signed after age 35, he is suspended, and not geting paid, but the Pens still have the cap hit.

  2. 2 Anonymous

    I know this is a longshot but please something horrid to the Canadiens. Something really nasty, or else I don’t know what to do anymore.

    Anyway, *ahem*. I know a friend of a friend who can get Theodore out of here and onto a ship which may land in some exotic islands.

  3. 3 Anonymous

    I’ve downloaded the CBA but have yet to read it. I hear it takes a chunk of time.

    I remember hearing that Leclair negotiated his release and that it had something to do with being 35 or over, and on a multi year deal. Those two conditions allowed for the deal, otherwise his suspension would have voided the remainder of his contract.

    None of these options would help the Avs in Theo’s case.

    When the CBA was announced I firmly recall hearing that little to no options remained for the teams making these big signings. They are not permitted to renegotiate a deal (less money spread over extra years), and can only extend contracts after December 30th.

    The minors and waiver option prayer is all they have.

  4. 4 PJ Swenson

    There is always giving him the chance to play out of his slump, did I just say that?

    But with the way Budaj is playing, the only time I would think about starting Theodore is back to back games.

    When you look at what happened to the Ducks and Kings, the Lanche can just think of it as the most expensive insurance policy in the NHL.

  5. 5 Anonymous

    You’re a fucken loser.
    Theo isn’t as bad as you make him out to be.
    He isn’t the goaltender he was in 2002 but the Habsw ere dumb to sign him to so much, nobody deserves that much money. The Avs were more stupid for taking a gamble.

    It would be great to see Theo come back strong when he’s actually given a achance to prove himself. Something he hasn’t been given yet, 4 games in a row is not a chance.
    All the Theo bashers will eat their words.
    It’s ok to critisize when Theo is struggling, but looking at his numbers game by game, he hasnt been horrid.
    This biased article of yours is just plain idiotic.

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