The Colorado Avalanche have plenty of options to retool their roster this offseason.
Now it’s time for the battleground of NHL Free Agency. Teams caught in high bidding wars and tough contract negotiations. Restricted free agents re-signing, splash moves, and underrated commodities. All with the same goal: make your team. The Colorado Avalanche are the reigning Stanley Cup Champions, so they need to prepare for a title defense.
There are some key re-signings they need to take care of, but they’ll have their options on the market as well.
Top Offensive Free Agents to Look At
There will be a lot of forwards on the market this summer. With Darcy Kuemper hitting the market after the Georgiev trade, the Avs have more cash to play with. The key offensive free agents from Colorado will be Andre Burakovsky, Nazem Kadri, and Valeri Nichushkin. It’s possible the Avalanche may be able to re-sign two of them. But the Avs will have a hole to fill on the second line. They’ll have plenty of options.
Veteran stars like Claude Giroux and Evgeni Malkin are big names to watch. They have pedigree, playoff experience, and will be major assets to any team. The one key factor for them: age. Malkin is approaching 36 and Giroux, 35. They might not cost as much, but how long will they still be effective players? Colorado needs a second line boost if Burakovsky or Kadri walk. One of the most sought after free agents will be Filip Forsberg. He had a major bounce back season this year. He scored 42 goals and 42 assists for 84 points in 69 games. He will receive a lot of offers, all of them lavish. Colorado may not be able to afford him, but he would be a fantastic addition.
Three big names to track will be Johnny Gaudreau, Nino Niederreiter, and Ondrej Palat. Three forwards in their prime and coming off good years. Gaudreau had a career season, potting 40 goals, 75 assists, for 115 points. He will command a lot on the market. Palat had a great postseason, scoring 11 goals, 10 assists for 21 points in 23 games. If Tampa is unable to bring him back, many teams will rush to sign him. Not to mention the two Stanley Cup rings on his resumé already.
Top Defensive Free Agents To Track
The Colorado Avalanche don’t have many needs to address on the back end. Cale Makar, Devon Toews, Samuel Girard, Bowen Byram, and Erik Johnson are all under contract. Josh Manson, Ryan Murray, and Jack Johnson are the main free agents for the Avs. Murray didn’t play much, and the others just rotated time on the third pairing.
Johnson and Manson played in the playoffs, so they may get a second look. The Avs seem to have addressed their goaltending problem by acquiring Alexandar Georgiev from the New York Rangers. So it’s just about finding a decent third pairing defenseman.
The top free agents will be commanding top pair minutes and money. One of the bigger ones is Nick Leddy of the St. Louis Blues. His style is certainly more defensive, only scoring 24 points last season. John Klingberg will be a big prize for a team trying to solidify their back end. But Colorado won’t have to spend much to complete the third pairing. Jack Johnson and would be a cheap re-signing and he fits Colorado’s scheme.