Colorado Avalanche: Evaluation of Current Off-Season Acquisitions

The Colorado Avalanche haven’t made any big off-season acquisition, but they’re still well set-up for the upcoming season.

The Colorado Avalanche have had a relatively quiet off-season so far. At the time of writing, they’ve drafted five players, re-signed a pending free agent, and signed an additional three forwards. They’ve also tendered an additional eight qualifying offers.

Many Avalanche fans are disgruntled with the free agency frenzy so far, which has been less frenzy and more leisurely stroll. Naturally, a large number of Avs fans want GM Joe Sakic to go after one of the big names up for grabs, namely Taylor Hall. Personally, I wouldn’t be a fan of that acquisition — there’s a reason Hall keeps bouncing from team to team, and it’s not a good one.

I would have been delighted if Sakic had acquired one of the big-name goalies on the market, namely Braden Holtby. However, he signed with the Vancouver Canucks on Day 1 of free agency.

To be honest, while I’d love to see Sakic pick up a solid depth player like he did last season, the truth is he doesn’t need to. He struck gold the last couple off-seasons, and the Colorado Avalanche are well-set as-is.

Let’s look at the minor acquisitions they have made so far.

2020 NHL Draft

The Avalanche had five draft selections going into the 2020 NHL draft. They were missing a couple because of trades, and they did not replace them with draft-day trades.

Colorado did retain a first-rounder in the draft, #25. They surprisingly used that selection to pick a defenseman, Justin Barron out of Halifax. He’s a shutdown defenseman with the potential to become two-way, particularly because of his skating.

The Avs didn’t have a second-rounder. They chose at the #75 position in the third, a center named Jean-Luc Foudy from the OHL. CBS Sports calls Foudy a “supreme athlete” who had a disappointing season but who displays excellent speed.

In the fourth round, they chose another center, Colby Ambrosio, from the USHL. He’s an undersized prospect with good but possibly not top-end skills. In the fifth round they chose a right wing, Ryder Rolston, also out of the USHL. He might be a bit of a steal at that position because of his scoring ability.

Finally, the Avalanche chose their only European, another center — Nils Aman out of Sweden. They chose the center in the sixth round. He’s an over-age draft selection. He’s another player who’s known for his skating.

That was Colorado’s last draftee for the season. It’s hard to think any of the above players will make a big impact on the NHL club — at most, they’ll be good in the AHL.

2020 Free Agency

At the time of writing, the Colorado Avalanche hadn’t made a splash in free agency. They barely made a ripple. They re-signed one of their AHLers, forward Sheldon Dries. They signed the 26-year-old to a one-year deal. He played in five NHL games in the regular season and also appeared in the Game 7 loss to the Dallas Stars.

The Avalanche also signed forward Miikka Salomaki to a one-year deal. Like Dries, he’s an AHL-level player whom the team can call up when needed. He spent the last season with Nashville’s AHL affiliate.

Colorado also tendered forward Kiefer Sherwood a one-year deal. He might have a little bit more potential in that he spent 10 games with the Anaheim Ducks last season and has played a total of 60 NHL games in his career. Finally, Colorado also gave forward Mike Vecchione a one-year deal. He’s another career AHLer.

Free Agent Qualifying Offers

The Colorado Avalanche didn’t need to do much to pick up depth in free agency. They did let go of two of their pending free agents, Matthew Nieto and Vladislav Namestnikov. Neither of those were very surprising, though I’m sad to see Nieto go.

Meanwhile, the following players have QOs on their plates:

I don’t think anyone is going to be surprised by the Burakovsky or Nichushkin offers since they made good contributions to the team last season. Ditto Graves. Also, haters gonna hate on Jost, but there’s no good reason to let him go.

Some fans might be surprised to see Zadorov’s name on that list. He’s in and out of the coach’s doghouse. However, if the team doesn’t have a better option, why not make an offer?

To be honest, I’m a little surprised that they tended a qualifying offer to Greer. Not that I don’t think he has something to offer the team — he does, to my mind. Rather, I thought the team didn’t think he had much more to offer. I don’t know if he’s really going to be given a chance with the NHL club, but at least he can still have an AHL career.

I’m not sure why they offered a contract to Kamenev. He’s already signed a contract with a Russian team and made it clear that’s his future. I guess the Avs aren’t ready to cut ties yet.

Next: 25 Years at Mile High

Well, Avs Nation, the Colorado Avalanche didn’t do much this off-season. Nor do I expect them to. They really don’t have a need to try and augment the team much. In addition to the solidly deep team they had this year, they’ve got a good stable of prospects from previous drafts and signings. In all, I think the team is well set-up.