The Colorado Avalanche made good acquisitions in the off-season. Find out how the new players are doing a third of the way into the season.
The Colorado Avalanche have made it through a testing first third of the season. It has been a grind, especially with the number of man-games lost to injuries
Last off-season, General Manager, Joe Sakic made some wholesale changes to the lineup. Some older players were shipped out, others were not re-signed and allowed to leave via Free Agency. Through players acquired via the draft, trades and free agents, Sakic re-stacked the lineup to address some issues that had plagued the Avalanche in seasons past.
I’m going to look deeper into the players who put on Avalanche colours for the first time this season and see how well they are adjusting to life as an Avalanche.
The Avalanche released several contributors from last season at the end of the playoff run against San Jose. Andrew Agozzino, Sven Andrighetto, Gabriel Bourque, Derick Brassard, Patrik Nemeth and Semyon Varlamov were all allowed to leave via free agancy. Varlamov had been supplanted by Philipp Grubbauer and the Avalanche were eager to save their salary cap dollars for a run at some of the more lucrative free agents, who did not materialize. I can’t fault them for that.
The Sven Andrighetto experiment worked better than other of Sakic’s reclamation projects of recent years. He was a decent acquisition for Andreas Martinsen, moving towards younger, faster players, away from the big bruiser of a player that Martinsen represented. The winger just never made quite the impact we hoped for.
Patrik Nemeth was a player I was sorry to see go – the fact that he was a dependable defenseman, finishing his Avalanche tenure with a +32 rating in 142 games, his detractors cry out at only the 25 points production. Not every man on the blueline is Cale Makar, but someone needed to make space for the new kid on the block.
So, after clearing house with the free agents, Sakic also had a few more cards up his sleeves. He got rid of another four players from the roster via the trade:
Carl Soderberg was shipped to Arizona for defenceman Kevin Connauton and a 2020 3rd round pick. Having just marked a career year as a second line center, Soderberg had his trade value peak and Sakic chose to take the team in another direction. I applaud this move, based on later deals, though at the time, I was somewhat dumbfounded to see such a trade.
Dominic Toninato was somewhat of a depth forward within the Avalanche organisation and was deemed surplus to requirements, earning himself a trade to the Florida Panthers for Jacob MacDonald on the 29th of June. Shoring up the depth of the Eagles organisation, trading away a center, who has struggled to make it to the Avs and stay there.
Then the blockbuster came. As we all remember, on the first of July, Tyson Barrie and Alex Kerfoot were no longer a part of the Colorado Avalanche – they were packaged off to Toronto (along with a chunk of retained salary) for Nazem Kadri and defensive prospect, Calle Rosen.
So, now we remember who we lost, lets focus on who we brought in to fill those holes:.