Colorado Avalanche: Reaction to Francois Beauchemin Signing

EDMONTON, AB - MARCH 25: Francois Beauchemin
EDMONTON, AB - MARCH 25: Francois Beauchemin /

Don’t panic, Colorado Avalanche fans, Francois Beauchemin isn’t returning to the Avs. Rather the veteran defenseman is going to do a third tour with the Anaheim Ducks.

The news just hit that Beauchemin has signed a one-year deal with his old flame:

The Avalanche, of course, just bought out his contract a few weeks ago. My first reaction was, “Oh, crap, did we miss out on something?”

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The Avalanche signed Beauchemin as a free agent two summers ago, ostensibly as a partner for cornerstone defenseman Erik Johnson. Beauchemin did fine his first year, recording 34 points (eight goals, 26 assists).

On paper, last season’s five goals and 13 assists don’t really look that much worse. However, we all remember watching Beauchemin look lethargic and occasionally dumbfounded as the puck went flying past him toward our goal. Even worse, his penchant for own-goals almost reached legendary status last season.

In fact, the snarky thought “Do own-goals go toward his performance bonuses?” came to mind.

Anyway, we all expected the Avalanche to buy out Beauchemin’s contract, and they did just that. However, I think the majority of us expected that was in for Beauchemin’s NHL career.

It appears that is not so, and that’s what has me worried. Did the Colorado Avalanche screw up in buying out Beauchemin?

Now, when Colorado signed the defenseman, they were in win-now mode. That is not the case anymore. There can be no question that they’re in full rebuild. Even putting aside Beauchemin’s performance last year, he’s still a player for the win-now team because of his age (37).

The Avs also signed Beauchemin when they had a different style of hockey going on. Jared Bednar’s system is very different. What’s more, GM Joe Sakic has been adamant about getting younger, and you don’t do that too well with a 37-year-old on your roster.

However, could this have been a lost opportunity in another way for the Avalanche? If there was a team, the Ducks, who wanted Beauchemin, couldn’t the Avs have gotten at least a late-round draft pick for him? Even if they had to retain the majority of his salary? After all, by buying him out, they were going to be on the hook money-wise for him anyway.

Maybe it was a matter of timing. Ducks GM Bob Murray might just be more savvy than our player-hero-GM, Super Joe. Murray probably well realized the Avs would have to buy out Beauchemin in order to (inexplicably) protect a full 11 players in the Expansion Draft. Murray knew he could wait and get Beauchemin for free.

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So, I guess my final reaction is one of watching the guy you dumped get a new girlfriend before you hook up again. It’s a bummer.

The Colorado Avalanche simply didn’t have room for the aging Beauchemin on their roster.