Colorado Avalanche Roster Outlook: Part 5 – Right Wings


Mar 23, 2015; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Colorado Avalanche left wing Jordan Caron (27) during the warmup period against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. Calgary Flames won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Avalanche roster has several holes that demand to be filled, after a season that failed to meet the fans’ and team’s expectations. As we found out over the last weeks on Roster Watch Wednesday, there is room for improvements on every position.

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If you were to rank every position by depth and talent-level, you may come to the conclusion that behind the defensemen, the right wing is the least deep position for the Avalanche. We have Jarome Iginla at number one — a guy in his mid-thirties that has his best days behind him —  and then it already gets difficult. There are several options available, but few of them seem like full-time NHL personnel.

However, it is not all that bad. Luckily, the Colorado Avalanche roster is stacked at center, which allows Patrick Roy to juggle players around and use them “out of position”. But who exactly can be those players filling in on right wing? Are there other options? All that will be explored!

2015-16 Right Wings

Expiring contracts: 

  • Jordan Caron — RFA

Depth Chart: 

  1. Nathan MacKinnon
  2. Jarome Iginla
  3. Dennis Everberg
  4. Jordan Caron
  5. Borna Rendulic

The only expiring contract is new acquisition Jordan Caron. His situation is very difficult and Joe Sakic and Patrick Roy will have to evaluate that situation very thoroughly. Drafted 25th overall by the Boston Bruins in 2009, Caron was a highly-touted offensive talent.However, after two very solid years, Caron went back to spend most of the 2012-13 season with the Providence Bruins in the AHL and declined from there.

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In 2014-15, Caron has not scored a single point in 30 games, 19 of which were with the Colorado Avalanche. Roy and Sakic have to re-evaluate the player and see if he is worth a spot on the Colorado Avalanche roster, with a very tight salary cap. Personally, I liked what I saw in the last Avalanche games, even though Caron didn’t score. He is in a tough situation, but once he settles in, he will be worth the extension.

As mentioned earlier, the actual right wing depth chart is a huge weakness for the Avalanche. As if it hadn’t been bad enough already, Dennis Everberg got injured late in the season and will require an overall of six to eight months to recover from shoulder surgery. That means, he may return just before the season starts, but could also have to stay off the ice until December.

The good part is that it is nothing that can’t be fixed with what the team already has. First and foremost, Nathan MacKinnon should get to inherit the number one spot on the right wing, after what he did on a line with captain Gabriel Landeskog and center Ryan O’Reilly. That is of course, only if Ryan O’Reilly stays in Denver and does not get traded.

It will be hard to find cheap options that are natural right wings.

If O’Reilly gets traded because he cannot agree on contract terms with the Avalanche, left wing Alex Tanguay should move to the right side. Nathan MacKinnon could move back to center, and Jamie McGinn would get to fill the number two left wing spot — unless another forward gets acquired through the trade or free agency.

Other options to fill a spot on the wing are centers Jesse Winchester (if healthy), Joey Hishon, and Freddie Hamilton, as well as rumored free agent signing Andreas Martinsen. Speaking of free agents, who is available there? It will be hard to find cheap options that are natural right wings. Drew Stafford (WPG), Michael Frolik (WPG), Justin Williams (LAK), and Chris Stewart (MIN) are technically all interesting options, but none of them will come cheap. The only realistic signing, as of right now, would probably be Chris Stewart, who has played for Colorado before and failed to play at the same level for any other team. Due to his decline, Stewart may come cheaper than his 2014-15 cap hit of four million dollars.

As we can see, there are several options to improve on right wing — but none of them are easy. It is quite possible that if you let five different coaches do the lineup for this team, you will get five completely different ones. There are too many options to try to fix things. However, that is not exactly something to be excited about. Neither one of the options can guarantee an improvement. All that can be done is this: hope for the best.

What do you think the Avs should do to improve on right wing? Let us know in the comment section!

The 2015-16 Colorado Avalanche Roster Outlook will be wrapped up next week, when we take a look at a possible opening night lineup!

Next: Roster Outlook Part 4 -- Centers