IT'S IMPOSSIBLE not to notice what's happening at Adelaide.

Critics will slam it as a player exodus, whereas others will call it a necessary cleanout.

The Crows were strong from 2015 to '17 – culminating in a Grand Final loss as the minor premier – before well-documented off-field and injury issues contributed to an underwhelming past two seasons.

The scars of 2017 are still healing. Picture: AFL Photos

Even still, they had as many wins as losses across 2018 and '19, yet what couldn't be missed was Adelaide's age profile.

The Crows were in the top three in the AFL this season for average player age and games, but they lost five of their last six matches to slip to 11th on the ladder.

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Coach Don Pyke is gone and a football department review is ongoing.

The time is right for tough calls, after giving this group an extended period to capture some silverware.

Already heading out the door are Cam Ellis-Yolmen (turns 27 in January), Alex Keath (28 in January), Josh Jenkins (30), Andy Otten (30), Sam Jacobs (31) and Richard Douglas (32).

Hugh Greenwood (27) will be at Gold Coast next season, although nothing official has been announced yet, while the great Eddie Betts (33 in November) will almost certainly be leaving for Carlton.

A combination of trades, free agency and delistings will see them departing West Lakes. None were likely to be part of Adelaide's next flag tilt.

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There's nothing half-arsed about the direction the Crows are going, but they've been wise enough to make these decisions knowing there is still a solid veteran base.

Think Taylor Walker (29), who's stepped down as captain, Rory Sloane (29), Daniel Talia (28), Tom Lynch (29), Bryce Gibbs (30), Kyle Hartigan (28 in November) and David Mackay (31).

Giving up so much for Gibbs remains questionable, especially now, but Adelaide would have had hopes of a bounce-back campaign this year where he contributed heavily.

Bryce Gibbs has found life hard as a Crow. Picture: AFL Photos

Throw in the Crouch brothers – Brad (25) and Matt (24) – Brodie Smith, Paul Seedsman and Luke Brown (all 27), Rory Laird (26 in December) and Jake Kelly (24) and there isn't a lack of experience.

That core should ensure the club doesn't 'bottom out', although there is still a danger of a further slide.

Smith will perform a key role in injecting much-needed speed to the Crows' midfield next season after impressing there in the latter stages of this year.

There is more to play out with 2020 free agent Brad Crouch, who continues to survey the market, and he's one footballer Adelaide won't want to lose.

The Crows will be a land of opportunity next season.

Reilly O'Brien surpassed Jacobs as the club's No.1 big man in 2019, and they will look for more of the same. There is more talent in the kids than is often referenced.

Intercepting defender Tom Doedee will be back from a serious knee injury, the versatile Wayne Milera is a senior regular, and more will be expected from key forwards Darcy Fogarty and Elliott Himmelberg.

With Betts likely gone, the time is now for ex-Tiger Tyson Stengle and mature-age recruit Shane McAdam.

A calf injury put McAdam on the back foot in his maiden AFL season, but his SANFL finals series buoyed hopes he can force his way in for round one next year.

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Last year's draftees Chayce Jones – a promising performer in the season finale against the Dogs – Ned McHenry, Will Hamill, Lachie Sholl and Jordon Butts will have every chance to push their cases, too.

The Crows will enter the 2019 draft fourth overall at this stage after last year's trade with Carlton, and they also have two other picks inside the top 30, so the regeneration can be accelerated.

At the same time, patience will be required, something the two-team South Australian bubble might find difficult.

But one thing is for certain: Adelaide's post-season list management choices this year are the right ones for the future.