Colorado Avalanche: Impact of Gabriel and Rene Bourque Signings

Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports /

The Colorado Avalanche announced on Monday that both Gabriel and Rene Bourque were signed to contracts. How do these signings impact the Avalanche roster?

The Colorado Avalanche made the correct decision with the Bourque signings — that’s a fact — but the signings impact the roster in a number of ways. Those ways are all mostly related to the salary cap.


Rene Bourque was signed to a one-year, one-way contract, which means he’ll be with the team. Gabriel Bourque was signed to a one-year, two-way contract and has to clear waivers Tuesday morning before he reports to either the Avalanche or the Rampage (AHL).

It’s difficult to navigate the cap space of the Avalanche right now, but I believe they had just over 900,000 in cap space before the Bourque signings. Which means that both Bourques can’t start the season with the big club because the Avs would be over the cap — According to the Denver Post, Rene was signed for 650,000 and Gabriel was signed for 800,000 while in the NHL, and 200,000 in the minors.

That is of course dependent upon whether or not Blake Comeau John Mitchell, or Mikko Rantanen start the season on injured reserve.

Related Story: Mikko Rantanen is a Questionable Roster Decision

Based on the above knowledge, Rene Bourque will be with the Avs.

Gabriel Bourque — on the other hand — was signed to be an AHL forward/extra-forward-to-start-the-season/first-call-up-from-the-AHL type of player. In other words, if the Avalanche are willing to risk losing him to waivers Tuesday morning, then his role with the big club is likely limited.

Nonetheless, if Gabriel Bourque ends up staying within the organization then there are cap implications to consider.

Salary Cap Issues with Call-ups, Trades and Waiver Claims

Like I said earlier, it’s difficult to navigate the Colorado Avalanche salary structure right now because the roster is still being constructed for opening night.

However — with the Bourque signings — it is obvious that the Avalanche will be right up against the cap no matter what their opening night roster is.

That is always dangerous — for the reasons mentioned in the heading — which might make a trade inevitable. But, that’s a topic for another article. Just keep it in mind folks — in that repressed yet persistent place where it will always resurface.

More from Mile High Sticking

Nonetheless, call-ups become a negotiation with the cap depending on who is injured. In other words, who can they call up to stay within the cap? Who could they lose on waivers when they have to send players back down? And, what players can they claim off of waivers when they become available?

These are all legitimate questions that are generally nonsignificant because teams usually carry enough cap space to leave them out of mind.

Aside from these salary cap questions, there are obviously questions about how these signings impact the fourth line.

How Do the Bourque Signings Change the Composition of the Fourth Line?

For the last three years, John Mitchell and Cody McLeod have been near locks for the fourth line.

However, the Bourque signings — and particularly Rene Bourque — may have just changed that for McLeod. And, Gabriel Bourque’s likely demotion to the AHL means a spot for either Ben Smith, Trent Vogelhuber, Andreas Martinsen, or Mike Sislo on the fourth line as well.

Actually, now that I think about it, Rene Bourque’s signing makes it harder for any of the above mentioned players to make the fourth line because he plays the right wing.

More From Mile High Sticking: Tyson Barrie’s Case for the Norris

However, if it were up to me at this point, I’m saying the Avalanche carry the current eight defensemen on the roster, and thirteen forwards. And, Andreas Martinsen is likely to be the extra forward. Which means, G. Bourque, Sislo, Vogelhuber, and Smith will be sent to the “A.”

If the Avs carry 14 forwards, and seven defensemen then Duncan Siemens gets the boot, and the Avs keep Smith and Martinsen as the extra forwards.

That’s my speculation for the opening night roster, and the Bourque signings brought a ton of clarity to the roster situation.


This is an exciting time of year folks. Now that the roster is starting to come together, pretty soon we can start speculating about line combinations and pairings.

Fellow MHS writer, Mark T., has already released some line combinations for the forwards. And, I’ll get out some defensive pairing speculation in the next few days.

Related Story: Possible Forward Line Combinations

Maybe there is some more clarity to his fourth line now that the Bourques have officially been signed.

Next: Previewing the 2016-17 Season

Anyway, opening night is on October 15 against the Dallas Stars, and it will all come to fruition then.

Until that glorious moment I’m going to be speculative to my utmost.

That’s all for today folks, thank you for stopping by!