Colorado Avalanche Signings Are More Of The Same

Feb 2, 2016; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Columbus Blue Jackets defensemen Fedor Tyutin (51) skates against the Edmonton Oilers at Rexall Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 2, 2016; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Columbus Blue Jackets defensemen Fedor Tyutin (51) skates against the Edmonton Oilers at Rexall Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports /

The Colorado Avalanche recently went out and acquired Joe Colborne, Patrick Wiercioch, and Fedor Tyutin. Besides the players themselves, the moves are significant for showing Sakic’s development (or lack thereof) as a GM.

In case you missed the Colorado Avalanche free agent signings from Friday, Nadia gave a nice breakdown here. But for this post I want to focus not on the players, but the contracts they signed. Specifically, I’m focusing on how Sakic’s free agent signings compared to some very poor ones in the past (Brad Stuart) and some pretty good signings (Nick Holden).

On the whole it’s obviously too early to call the moves smart or reckless, but we can make some comparisons that should give us a pretty idea of how things will pan out.

What Sakic Did Right

One of the first things I did when I saw the trio of deals was scan for the length of the contracts.  And I was happily surprised that the two players with more potential downside were given only one-year deals. Both defensemen Fedor Tyutin and Patrick Wiercioch are only commited to the Colorado Avalanche for one season, which would make sense as both players were both essentially unwanted by their teams.

However, seeing as the Avs were just forced to buy out Brad Stuart, I was mildly afraid Sakic would get excited and offer one a three-year deal — thankfully he did not.

I was also impressed by the financials of the deal.  Patrick Wiercioch was considered a hot and upcoming defenseman two years ago. He’s struggled since then (hence the Senators letting him walk as a restricted free agent), but he has showed some great potential in the league. Is he the proven anchor at defense that we all hoped for? No, but for $800k it’s worth taking a flyer on him to see if he can re-find his game.

More from Mile High Sticking

At the same time Fedor Tyutin has struggled mightily the last couple years, but he’s a two-time Olympian who had a nice stretch of seven 20+ seasons. The two million is possibly a little higher than I would of liked for a player who was a healthy scratch frequently last year, and was just bought out. But if Tyutin can find his game he can be a great asset.

Lastly, Joe Colborne will be an interesting player. He’s coming off of a 44 point season in which his shooting percentage was an unsustainable 19%. But for two million he would be a steal if he could eclipse the 30-point mark.

Sakic Did It Again

As much as there is potential upside in all the signings, it’s just another in a long line of signings that show the Colorado Avalanche are only committed to winning at a bargain price. None of the new Avalanche are what you call consistent or solid. Ultimately it’s Sakic doing what he’s been doing for years (especially at defense) — finding the cheapest available option and hoping it pans out.

These players aren’t journeymen in the way Nate Guenin and Andre Benoit were, but they’re far from a guarantee to solve any problems the Avs may have. One, or all, could end up being absolute steals, but more likely we’ll be shaking our heads after Tyutin watches the entire season from the press box.

I’ve said it a hundred times — journeymen defenseman are often that for a reason. Players are bought out for a reason, and restricted free agents aren’t qualified for a reason. That reason is they’re not good enough. Why  the Avalanche think they know more about the quality of player than the teams the player was on for years astounds me. When Sakic admitted the defense needed an upgrade, I thought he would finally get a proven player, instead he got more players that are struggling.

Next: Colorado Avalanche Qualifying Offers


Although Sakic has looked to have made the same mistakes he’s made for years, at least he made them cheap and short this year. At the end of the day good players cost real money. If the Colorado Avalanche want good defensemen, they’re going to have to spend real money. I’m hoping that after another year of wasted dollars and struggling defense — as I don’t see this blue line doing any better then last year’s — Sakic will learn that quality beats quantity. Until then the revolving door at the defense continues.

Lastly, the Colorado Avalanche are now officially the largest free agent spenders. Montreal managed to hand cancer with a hockey stick Alexander Radulov $5.25 million, and the Avalanche have still outspent them and everyone else and got…. some guys no one cares about anymore.