The Colorado Avalanche season might’ve ended earlier than fans had hoped, but that hasn’t stopped the team from being active in the off-season and looking ahead to next year. Today the Avalanche signed Croatian player Borna Rendulic to a two-year two-way contract. Rendulic will join the team for the preseason and look to make the club out of camp, although it’s more likely that he starts the year in the AHL with the Lake Eries Monsters given the Avs current crop of forwards.
Rendulic, a native of Croatia, had 32 points in 57 games last year with SM-liiga’s HPK Hameenlinna. If he makes the NHL, he would be the first player from Croatia to play in the National Hockey League.
Eliteprospects.com describes Rendulic as, “A winger with a big frame, possesses a promising combination of size and scoring ability. He has a finisher’s instict and both the strength and skill to power his way to the net.” They go on to say that he must focus on improving his skating and adding grit to his game.
While teams like the New Jersey Devils, Washington Capitals, and Edmonton Oilers had some interest in Rendulic, only the Avalanche and Nashville Predators made him a firm offer. In the end, thanks to the influence of Joe Sakic, Rendulic chose to sign with the Avs.
In an interview with KHL.hr, Borna said, “This really is a dream come true, but just the first part of the dream. Throughout the years, I was aware of the continuous Colorado interest and I was in touch with the NHL agents. I have always believed this moment will come and I had no doubts when the opportunity arose. I was overjoyed. Now, there is a difficult summer ahead, I will prepare myself with my personal trainer Jurica Franković. My goal is to make it to the team and play in the NHL – I do not want to be just another passer-by.”
Thoughts: It will be interesting to monitor Rendulic’s progress next season. The duo of Sakic and Patrick Roy has really changed the way I view moves that the team makes. Obviously they see something in Rendulic and by the sound of things, he could develop into a very useful third line player. I don’t think he’ll start the season with the Avs given their current group of forwards and possible free agent additions, but if he has a strong training camp, he could be one of the first call-ups if there is an injury. If nothing else, it’s a low-risk move for the Avs that could end up paying off in some way.