Foote was certainly not awful last year. He had a weak playoffs, and a decent regular season which was overshadowed by Rob Blake's Norris-worthy performance.
I still don't see the relevence of this thread. Yes he's worth 4.4 million, and I think at this point in his career I wouldn't trade him for Regehr or Hannan--I'd think long and hard about Hamhuis though. Then again, this is the Avs homer inside me speaking.
Awful may of been a strong word. But he was definitely Awful by his standards. I said in the past, i HATED when the wings played him. He was dirty, he was physical... And he was good. I hated it.
Last year i watched him Run from Shanahan. Back in the hayday of the rivalry, he would ALWAYS give shanny a good fight. Even when they dropped the gloves Foote held his own. Last year was the first year ive seen him back down. He was not good last year, and even worse in the play-offs.
Though, i conceed your lidstrom point. And I wonder if perhaps Foote was trying to do too much at the start of the season, much like Lidstrom, and it wore him out. When the wings started thier Hospital ward immitation, Lidstrom tried to do too much. He wasnt very good when he did that. [though he not being good is still better than 75% of the NHL]. I know the avs didnt start off hot last year, and wonder if that wore Foote down. I dont see enough avs game to know for sure.
that said, Id still take Foote over any of the names listed short term. And if he returns to form next year, even long term.
I think that may be your issue then in judging Foote. You've obviously viewed the Avs/Wings games, and in those games, I'd point to the Avs as a team not being "up" for the challenge. But, it doesn't appear that you've watched many other contests involving Foote this past season. He still, for the most part, played with his normal rough and tough edge, still showed his great positional know how on the ice, and was a model of consistency.
As for not "fighting" Shanny--well, I can say that in the past 3 years Foote hasn't been up to fighting many people. If you look at the past 5 years, Foote's PIMs have dropped drastically, in part, due to his lack of fights.
Again, I'll contend that Foote's 2003-04 regular season, although not as great as his 2002-03 regular season (which many concede as being his career year), was still top notch. Nothing special, but then again, that's how Foote makes a living, but working hard and going unnoticed. His playoffs however, stuck out. And when a stay-at-home defenseman's game stands out, it usually is a bad thing.
You've also got to look at Granato trying to change this team's defensive mindset, which was previously employed during the Hartley regime. Foote has a decent pass, but isn't one to think offense first, which is what Granato was trying to get his defenseman to do in more situations.
There aren't a lot of defensemen in the league I'd want to see signed for that much. But Foote is one of them. Even after an off season, I just expect him to come back next season that much hungrier to win. The guy plays to win, nothing less every night, and he's proven that he's damned good at it too.
Aucoin will likely win around there in arbitration, and I'd trade Aucoin for Foote in a heartbeat and never look back.