As most of the stories are lately on this site, all roads lead to Nazim Qadri. It officially looks like Avs’ former second streak hub is heading to Long Island. It leaves a huge gaping hole in Avs’ squad, including losing 35 goals and 67 assists in both the regular season and post-season.
There are limited options available to purchase Avs to fill the shoes Nas left behind. There are interior options for the transition to the 2C, such as Alex Newhook, JT Compher or Mikko Rantanen. They may come to the market and may bring the young Sony Milano from Anaheim Dax. There could also be a meeting with Paul Stastney. A Veteran Like Jonathan Toyes Could Be Hire in the Deadline Trade From Doomed Chicago Blackhawks.
However, one name stands out above the rest. This player hasn’t seen the most success and points in his career but he will definitely be fit in Colorado. The first name is the same as the author: Evan Rodrigues.
The 29-year-old season called Steel City home, and he plays in Pittsburgh penguins In the past three seasons. Previously with the falter Buffalo SaberRodriguez came to the Sabers from the Boston University system with little success from 2015-2017. He spent the next three years doing some serious work in the Sabers system, scoring 21 goals and 42 assists.
He called to trade for a competitor and work his way up the ranks, to the above mentioned penguins. He will only play seven games in 2020 after being traded before COVID shortened the season. He spent his short 2021 season on and off the ice, playing just 35 games before collapsing with the rest of his side in the first round against New York Islanders.
However, he made a significant recovery in the 2021-22 season. Rodriguez played alongside Renaissance veterans like Sidney Crosby and Evgeny Malkin in the majority of his 82 regular season games. It has been a career year of his own, scoring 19 goals and 24 assists. This included seven power-playing goals in just under 16 minutes of icy time on average.
Evan Rodriguez (PIT9) made his presence felt in the action thriller that the Pens scored 7-4 on NYR.
Score two goals and a base assist with 78% xGF% in 5v5.
– JFresh (@JFreshHockey) May 8, 2022
He is also a strong defensive striker. Last season alone, he had 33 takeaways with 30 cuts and 89 hits. Of all the players available in the market outside of Kadri, Rodrigues should be at the top of Avs’ list to replace Naz.
The key to his game that might affect Avs is his ability to face confrontations. The Avs struggled really hard in the showdown last season, averaging a 47.3% showdown win percentage (FOW). Rodrigues FOW’s career is 45.1%, which some might not say is impressive at a glance. However, he has gradually improved on his days in Pittsburgh and will at least be able to make the point in Avs outfit.
Rodriguez is also a player who can come to Denver on the cheap. The last three contracts he’s taken have all been “Proof It” with one-year deals for less than $2 million. The Avs certainly had the hood space to pull this in internally and there was no need to move any men to make this happen. Keeping players like Sam Girard and JT Compher in the current system will keep the depth in place that has been crucial to the Avs’ run to the cup. Especially in the background, coming back with the same defense you had to help lift the cup would be a huge thing for the Avs on their way to a successive cup run.
Back in 9th in Pittsburgh – there were a lot of theories that his numbers were simply exaggerated to play with superstars like Crosby and Malkin. His naysayers make it look like he didn’t work and he earned the 43 points he earned last season. While playing with these guys assists, Rodrigues built himself into a strong midfield player of pairing who would fit in nicely with the Avs organization.
His would-be buddies if he joined Colorado would do just as well on his side as Crosby and Malkin did. Whatever the combination of Rantanen, Arturi Likonen, Gabriel Landskog and Valery Nisushkin, it will provide many of the same advantages for Rodriguez as his former teammates.
Joe Sakic, while not the general manager of Avs anymore, was certainly enjoying giving out similar “Proof of It” deals as Rodriguez recently received. Look at the success of guys recently like Nichuhskin and Jack Johnson. Sakic may put word with new GM Chris McFarland to take a chance with another deal that “proves that” in Colorado.
It would be a great move to replace Kadri if he goes. Rodriguez will see similar success to his previous season in Colorado in the role of second line center. If it doesn’t work out for a deal for a year or two, they can move on to the next deal. It would be worth the risk and could definitely pay off if everything works out for Rodrigues and the avalanche.