Say it ain’t so, Super Joe. Hey, a healthy Darcy Kuemper in the crease is worth taking a flier on. But is he worth taking a flying leap?

Trading a first-round pick, a conditional third-round pick and 22-year-old defenseman Conor Timmins for a 31-year-old goaltender who’s made more than 29 regular-season starts just once since 2014?

That’s not a win-now move. That’s a win-or-else move. As in, “Or else the fans start lighting torches.”

Weren’t the Rockies the ones who were supposed to get weird this week? Did the Avalanche hire Jeff Bridich as a consultant? Did Colorado general manager Joe Sakic, the most respected team-builder in town, just get … Sakic-ed?

Say it ain’t so, Super Joe. There’s a fine line between aggressive and desperate. The Kuemper deal, at first blush, somehow managed to combine both in one fell swoop. Necessary, yes. But did it have to be so painful?

“Listen, I have all the faith in the world in Joe and C-Mac (assistant general manager Chris MacFarland),” Avalanche captain and winger Gabe Landeskog said early Wednesday, the morning after returning on an eight-year, $56 million deal, “and the team that they’ve obviously built and continue to build.”

For Avs fans, though, that faith is about to be tested.

The 6-foot-5 Kuemper, when he’s right, is an absolute wall. The Canadian stopper finished among the top 8 in Vezina Trophy voting in 2019 and ’20. Dude almost singlehandedly saved the Coyotes’ bacon at the postseason bubble in Edmonton last summer. Against the Avs in the first round, he stoned 49 shots in a Game 3 victory. Colorado took the series in five games anyway.

The wall has a lot of cracks, especially on the injury front. Lower body blues. Upper body blues. A stick in the eye. If a pairing of Kuemper and Pavel Francouz can somehow make it unscathed through next spring, it’ll prove that either Sakic is a genius or his soul is bound by blood to the wrong crowd.

Either way, he’s going for it. And after the deepest Avalanche team in a generation just frittered away a seemingly perfect window, with the clock ticking away, could you blame him?

We didn’t say “best” team. And we didn’t say that window was completely closed. Any roster with Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, Cale Makar and Landeskog at the core remains a Stanley Cup contender, right from the jump.

But as of late Wednesday, the Avs’ margin for error just got smaller. So did the roster, with former goaltender Philipp Grubauer — who agreed to a six-year, $35.4-million deal Wednesday with Seattle — joining the list of the recently departed that also features Timmins, Joonas Donskoi, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Ryan Graves.

“We obviously want to keep everybody (around),” Landeskog said. “That’s always the case — you want to keep the group together … we understand that it’s a business and sometimes you can’t keep everybody.”

A franchise that two months ago boasted a killer core, insane depth and a good netminder has been stripped to a killer core, Kuemper and Francouz. When the wonks said the hard part for the Avs wouldn’t be so much climbing the mountain as maintaining a penthouse in the peaks, the summer of 2021 was what they meant.

Yes, the losses sting like a half-dozen paper cuts. Yes, giving more money to keep Grubi in the fold might’ve been the wiser play, in hindsight, but it was money the Avs didn’t have.

On the bright side, the depth purge — retaining stars such as Landeskog and defenseman Cale Makar over second- and third-line fixtures, paying for quality over quantity — gives Sakic a chance to take another swing at patching up past postseason failings. A mid-window tweak, if you like. A re-think. Skaters more along the lines of new defenseman Kurtis McDermid, a 6-foot-5 banger.

Sakic already cornered the market on speed, flash and finesse. Stanley Cups are won on spine, smarts and steel.

You need reliable hands. More than that, you need reliable heads. Ones the Golden Knights shouldn’t feel comfortable camping out in.

We’ll always have St. Louis, Grubi. St. Louis and regrets.

“I hate the term ‘unfinished business,’” Landeskog said. “(But) we haven’t accomplished much. The ultimate goal is to win the Stanley Cup. That’s what I’ve said from Day 1.”

Forking over $7 million a year to Landy is an investment in the locker room as much as the scoreboard. It’s about balance. Chemistry. And squeezing every last, precious drop you can out of the next 23 months.

MacKinnon, who’s slated to make $6.3 million next year and become an unrestricted free agent in 2023, won’t be a bargain forever. Erik Johnson ($6 million) and J.T. Compher ($3.5 million) can also to hit the market after the 2022-23 season.

“Obviously, we’re very happy to keep guys together,” Landeskog said. “And listen, it’s just the beginning. We’re happy to see a bunch of guys locked up for a long time. Now it’s time to get to work.”

That goes double for Sakic, who has some explaining to do. No, the window isn’t closed. But that blasted ticking sound is getting louder by the day.

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