If the Colorado Avalanche don’t get rid of defenseman Francois Beauchemin, this could be Joe Sakic’s undoing as general manager.
The Colorado Avalanche need to make some significant changes to the team after a dismal 48-point season. Thus far, the only changes the Avs have made are to fire the assistant coaching staff — Jared Bednar is staying on.
GM Joe Sakic has been stating that he wants to see the team get younger and faster. To that end he picked up young, fast players throughout the season last year. The team acquired winger Matthew Nieto and defenseman Mark Barberio off the waiver wire and traded big forward Andreas Martinsen for Sven Andrighetto.
However, there’s one player on the Colorado Avalanche who’s in no way young or fast — defenseman Francois Beauchemin.
About Francois Beauchemin
The blueliner just turned 37, and his legs show it. He was never known for being the speediest of individuals anyway.
Indeed, Francois Beauchemin is considered to be in the old Colorado Avalanche mold — a weighty, gritty veteran with skill. Colorado picked him up as a free agent in the summer of 2015, ostensibly as a partner for cornerstone defenseman Erik Johnson.
Last summer Jared Bednar made the veteran blueliner an alternate captain over his best d-man, Johnson.
Francois Beauchemin and his Contract
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Francois Beauchemin has a year left on his three-year contract with a cap hit of $4.5 million. The contract is one that’s a 35+ with a strict No Move Clause. That means Beauchemin can’t be traded, sent to the AHL or exposed in the Expansion Draft without his consent.
That means the Colorado Avalanche have three options related to Francois Beauchemin. They can try to convince him to waive his NMC. They can buy his contract out. Or they can keep him.
The Avs have until Monday, June 12, to formally request Beauchemin waive his NMC. The player has until Friday, June 16, to decide.
The buyout period begins on Thursday, June 15, and ends on Saturday, June 17, which is when Expansion Draft protection lists are due. As part of that process, Colorado must ask Beauchemin if he wants to be placed on waivers. Friday, June 16, is the last day the Avs can place him on waivers.
Francois Beauchemin and Joe Sakic
The majority of Avs Nation believes the best option for the Colorado Avalanche is to get rid of Francois Beauchemin. He seems like a perfectly lovely individual, but he was a complete nightmare on the ice last year. Oh, the own-goals. Not to mention his impersonation of a traffic cone in front of the Colorado net.
If GM Joe Sakic is committed to getting younger and faster, you’d think he’d agree that convincing Beauchemin to waive his NMC or to buy the defenseman out is the best course of action.
However, according to Avs insider Adrian Dater, that’s not the case:
Here’s a couple good reactions from Avs fans to that news:
Now, we don’t know what Sakic has planned. Fellow MHSer Ross Sellers has some ideas:
Naturally, I have my own (
crazy unique) stance. First of all, we don’t know what pressure the Kroenke Sports Entertainment group is putting on Sakic. Maybe they don’t want to spend money buying out a player’s contract when they already paid teams this year alone to take on their players — aka, Cody McLeod and Jarome Iginla.
Stan Kroenke seems content to play with his football team, though, and Josh seems more interested in the Denver Nuggets. At most they might have raised an eyebrow at Sakic if he mentioned a contractual buyout.
It could be, though, that Sakic thinks Francois Beauchemin has potential to help the team next season. According to Dater, that’s what the player himself is thinking.
And if that’s Sakic’s evaluation, could this be his Waterloo? He’s made some bad general managing decisions in the last four years. And here’s one you absolutely cannot pin on Patrick Roy as a convenient patsy. (It also shows that keeping aging veterans around, and bestowing honors upon them, was not exclusively Roy’s idea.)
I don’t think Joe Sakic will lose his job over keeping Francois Beauchemin, if that’s what he intends to do. If the Kroenkes would barely raise an eyebrow over shelling out $3 million to buy out his contract, it’s doubtful a single muscle twitch would occur over letting the guy play.
However, I think Sakic would have officially lost the last vestiges of support from Avs Nation. The fanbase and probably a lot of the media will join in with “He was a great player, but as a GM…”
He can ask Patrick Roy how that feels.