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"Theodore was a bust. A washout. A high-priced folly. If former vice presidential candidate Lloyd Bentsen had been a hockey fan, he would have looked at Theodore and intoned, ‘You're no Patrick Roy.'" - Terry Frei, Denver Post, "Goal Standard for Avs Goalie."

This is why free agency is enough to make the sanest fan go completely mental. Before this season, Jose Theodore was a joke: A flame-out former Hart winner who tested positive for hair-grow tonic and who "flirt avec Paris Hilton." But then he started to get more starts while the Colorado Avalanche lost several key offensive players to injury, forcing former coach Joel Quenneville attempt to win every game 1-0 by collapsing his defense. Theodore's GAA shrunk from 3.26 in the previous season to 2.44 in 2007-08, and he was widely considered one of the League's comeback players of the year.

Empowered by this newly mended reputation, Theodore and his agent Don Meehan have broken off talks with the Avs over (it's assumed) dollars and duration, and will go unrestricted on July 1. Meehan's no dummy: He sees a UFA goaltending landscape that already lost Dan Ellis back to the Nashville Predators and could lose Cristobal Huet back to the Washington Capitals (which should get done). Theodore becomes the biggest name available by far, if not the most sound choice by consistency standards. But while Theodore and Meehan seem to have conveniently forgotten the previous two seasons in Colorado in their negotiations, you'd expect many of his potential suitors next week will not.

If Theodore skates away, the Avs are left with Peter Budaj as the prohibitive starter heading into the fall. He's not bad, and has proven to be a quality keeper the more starts he gets; but he's also not the guy you want between the pipes without another viable option in (maybe) Joe Sakic's final season, either.

As for Theodore, Tapeleg dared him to test free agency and experience the toxic shock of his true market value. It should be jarring. Jibblescribbits, meanwhile, sees this as the end of Theodore's bizarre tenure in Colorado:

The Theo era in Denver appears to be at a close, and I think this says it all: Theo won 2 playoff series as an Av, but he was 0-8 in the second round. We (Avs fans) can choose to remember him as an overpaid bust who found his game just in time to get paid, or we can remember him as the struggling athlete who was able to find a bit of redemption at the end. Probably a little of both.

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