BEARD Commissioners Thomas Gidlow and Dan Bacon welcomed veteran GM Jeff Kuntz into the fold, announcing him as general manager of the Avalanche.
DENVER – Even though it was Montreal Canadiens' GM Lennart Westman's birthday this past Monday, the fans of the Colorado Avalanche feel they got a present of their own.
“This is snow joke,” reportedly said Gidlow, resulting in numerous groans in the room. “Commissioner Bacon and I have every confidence that Jeff will take the Avalanche to the next level.”
Bacon, who had been in discussions with Kuntz about BEARD Hockey for awhile, agreed with Gidlow.
“Jeff is an active GM who makes smart trades, usually,” said Bacon, adding, “I can vouch that his ability to look for hidden advantages within the rules is second to none. We welcome Jeff to BEARD Hockey!”
Speaking to his reputation of dissecting league rule documents to extract an edge, Kuntz had this to say: “BEARD's rules are among the most well thought-out and coherent I've seen in a SimonT league. Plus the guys who wrote them aren't clowns. So honestly I don't even see that as being a story-line here.”
Meanwhile on the ice Kuntz takes over an Avalanche squad that could be at an inflection point. The team appears to be built for immediate success but their roster may not be quite good enough to truly contend this season.
Colorado had a 43-23-16 record last year, good for third place in the Central Division during the regular season. The Avs were ousted in the first round of the play-offs losing a tough series to the Winnipeg Jets in 7 games.
This year the Avalanche are off to a tremendous start – owning a 4-0-1 record when Kuntz officially took over the club earlier this week.
Said Kuntz: “Thank you Thomas, Dan and all the BEARD GMs for their warm welcome, specifically on the league's Slack channel. I'm not certain if a goatee technically qualifies as a beard per se, in this league, but hopefully I've done enough in the realm of facial hair to fit in with our group.
"It's a pleasure to become the general manager of the Colorado Avalanche and my evaluation process is well underway. There's a lot to absorb in trying to figure out asset valuations in BEARD Hockey, and for the first time in my sim hockey career the GMs in our league have direct influence on player development."
“I am still in the week-long trade ban as a new GM, but the truth is this team doesn't have very many holes. So I'm not sure how active I'll need to be coming out of the gate. I guess you can consider this my first unofficial trade block, but upon exiting the new-GM trade freeze I'll be looking to add one NHL-level depth forward and one depth defenseman – with my priority on the latter – in exchange for mid to late draft picks,” Kuntz added.
The most glaring hole the Avalanche would need to fill if Kuntz decides to compete for the Stanley Cup in his first year at the helm would be a proven first-line center.
“If I wanna wait a few years I can adjust strategy to develop [Nick] Suzuki to be our 1C. But it might be nice to have an established guy on the roster in the here and now in case we want to make that push. We're probably okay at every other position, at least this season. So it's all going to come down to deciding on timing for the window to contend. I haven't made that decision, but that decision will affect everything,” explained Kuntz.
What will the Avalanche do?
Kuntz will be able to make trades on behalf of the organization on November 8. We may have to wait until at least then to see which competitive direction Colorado chooses to go!