The chaotic shopping spree is underway. The 2022 NHL Free Agent Market is rich with options. What should the Colorado Avalanche do on Day 2?
The first day of free agency has been quite busy. Players like Brent Burns, Max Pacioretty, and Claude Giroux are finding new homes. This summer has many options for teams looking to retool their rosters. For the Colorado Avalanche, it’s been about preparing for a title defense. They’ve re-signed two key pieces in Josh Manson and Artturi Lehkonen. As we head into Day 2, there are still moves Colorado can make.
Colorado Avalanche: Finding a Second Line Center
The top priority for the Avs: find a new second line center. It’s more than likely that Nazem Kadri is leaving. After the Manson and Lehkonen signings, there won’t be enough cap room to afford Kadri. So Colorado needs to explore a new option, whether it be a signing, trade, or in-house. A cheap veteran option comes in Patrice Bergeron. A seasoned vet, a Stanley Cup champion, and a captain. He would fill the role nicely. But at 36 years old, he would only be an Av for a couple years at most. It’s likely the Avalanche desire a long term option. Most of the best centers on the market might just be out of Colorado’s price range.
A rumor that’s gotten some steam has been a possible trade for Chicago star, Patrick Kane. The Blackhawks seem to be having a fire sale. Many expect Kane and Jonathan Toews to demand out as well. Chicago seems committed to a full rebuild. Colorado could take advantage of this and throw a decent package for the star player. He also brings experience and Cup winning experience. It’s not a guarantee by any means, but something for Colorado to consider.
Defense is all locked up for Colorado Avalanche
Josh Manson’s re-signing locks down the Avs’ back end. It’s one of the best defenses in hockey. But some feel that the Avalanche need to clear some cap room to make some moves. That may mean moving a player on defense. Many have suggested Samuel Girard as a trade piece. Girard brings a lot of value to Colorado, and has blossomed as an Av. But the $5 million in cap room could help Colorado as well.
Girard should only be dealt if the Avalanche are eyeing a top flight forward. Draft picks or prospects help little at this time. If there isn’t one available, then it’s not worth it. Just keep Girard and revisit this idea next summer. It is possible that Alex Newhook could step into the role. He’s grown over the last two seasons and has earned the favor of the team. Girard is a key player, and shouldn’t moved for the sake of cap space. He’s worth the price he’s being paid. The Avs should tread lightly here.
Forward depth should be looked at by Colorado Avalanche
The Avalanche lost a key forward in Andre Burakovsky. He is headed off to Seattle for a good deal. The Avs will need to replace his production on the second line. Valeri Nichushkin got a hefty extension, so his production should keep growing. But the Avs can replace Burakovsky’s production through the farm system or a cheap signing. The Avalanche have a lot of top forward prospects who could grow at the NHL level.
A little tidbit, back to the Kane rumors. It is worth mentioning that Patrick Kane plays on the wing as well. If they were to bump Newhook to the second line center, then had wings of Kane and Nichushkin, it would make for a lethal second line. It would also solidify the Avs’ Top 6 as the best in hockey. Again, it’s just a proposal, but something to think about.
The Avalanche still have plenty of time to make moves. There a lot of good players available and the idea of winning a Cup for a cheaper rate will be a factor. Colorado’s core is intact and they’ve solidified all key positions. There’s no need to be exorbitant spenders. This front office has proven they know how to put together a powerhouse without overspending. Patience is a virute.