Grading the Colorado Avalanche offseason so far following great season

Jun 30, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Colorado Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic speaks during the Stanley Cup Championship Celebration. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 30, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Colorado Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic speaks during the Stanley Cup Championship Celebration. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /

What should the Colorado Avalanche be graded for their 2022 offseason so far?

The Colorado Avalanche aren’t doing a whole lot this offseason in terms of flashy moves but have done a solid job of keeping  some of their own players from leaving in free agency.

Now it’ll be fun to see if they can keep one of their bigger-name guys in Nazem Kadri.

Colorado Avalanche Free Agency/Trades Grade: B+

The Avalanche re-signed center Andrew Cogliano to a one-year deal. Though it would be ideal to have signed him to a longer deal, perhaps, he is 35-years old. The Avalanche have a good amount of centres on their roster, so they’re not overly concerned about that spot on the team.

Earlier in the month, the team re-signed defenceman Josh Manson to a four-year deal and Darren Helm to a one-year deal.

Andre Burakovsky went to the Seattle Kraken and Nico Sturm to the San Jose Sharks. Burakovsky had a career year for the Avalanche this past year, so it makes sense he would take the opportunity to cash in with a new team. That just is the price Stanley Cup champions often have to pay in the offseason. Unfortunately for him, he had just two points in the team’s final six games in the regular season.

The Avalanche were tight on cap space heading into the offseason, knowing that they had some in-house players they wanted to re-sign. That meant they would be unable to sign some of their own players, including their main guy between the pipes.

Darcy Kuemper ended up not being retained by the Avalanche and it became obvious that’s where the decision was headed once they traded for Alexandar Georgiev from the New York Rangers. It’s pretty crazy letting your Stanley Cup Champion goaltender leave in free agency, but Colorado has to be smart with their cap space.

The Avalanche also signed Valeri Nichushkin to a contract extension this offseason.

Soon, Nathan MacKinnon will demand a pretty nice chunk of money. So, would you rather Kuemper or your star center iceman? We obviously know the answer to that one. Georgiev should do just fine.

That is, if he is named the starter. Jon Chik of Locked On Rangers pointed out recently that Georgiev plays his best hockey when he is in the lineup for an extended period of time. Chik acknowledges that the Avs’ new goaltender could struggle if pulled for Pavel Francouz. Head to the 5:15 mark in the video.

At the end of the day, Colorado’s free agency grade would be better if they end up re-signing Nazem Kadri.

Colorado Avalanche 2022 NHL Draft Grade: B+

The Colorado Avalanche had just two picks in the 2022 NHL Draft. They selected defenseman Chris Romaine and goaltender Ivan Zhigalov in rounds six and seven.

Given that the Avalanche now have a starter in Georgiev and a reliable No. 2 in Francouz, it should be a few years, at least, before Zhigalov sees the ice.

Late-round picks probably won’t have much of an impact early on in their careers, and I feel like the Avalanche need to focus on adding veteran players and retaining their own core guys.

Where did the Colorado Avalanche’s 2022 draft picks end up?

Colorado sent their first-round pick to the Coyotes and Connor Timmons to the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for Darcy Kuemper. That move obviously paid off for the Stanley Cup Champions. That move gets an A+.

Like I mentioned above, unfortunately, Kuemper was going to cost too much money, so they chose to let him walk.

They traded their second-round pick to the New York Islanders for Devon Toews, who scored 13 goals during the 2021-22 regular season and five during the playoffs. Toews had 44 assists during the regular season. He played in 66 games.

Their third and fifth-round picks were sent to the Rangers for Georgiev. That decision has the potential to pan out for Colorado but it’s in wait-and-see mode.

Colorado Avalanche promote Joe Sakic, Chris McFarland: A+

The Colorado Avalanche made a big move in the front office, assigning Joe Sakic to President of Hockey Operations and Chris McFarland to General Manager.

Sakic obviously was the one that brought in the group of players that won the Stanley Cup. He was the main guy that was in charge of acquiring the players that led to the championship. It’ll be interesting to see how he does in his new role.

The Avalanche are in good hands. They should be competitive for many years to come.