Should Colorado Avalanche heed Olofsson warning?

Colorado Avalanche v New York Rangers
Colorado Avalanche v New York Rangers / Rich Graessle/GettyImages

Colorado Avalanche primary 4th line center Fredrik Olofsson was recently sent down to the Colorado Eagles (AHL) after some acquisitions at the trade deadline that GM Chris MacFarland made.

Reports now have surfaced that Olofsson, a free agent at the conclusion of this season, will take a deal with Swiss League EV Zug unless he is offered a 1-way contract to remain in the NHL.

Olofsson has played 57 games with the Avalanche this season, scoring three goals and adding six assists for nine points while averaging 9:45 of ice time per game. Olofsson is a -5 plus-minus on the season and has a 39.7 percent success rate on faceoffs for the year.

Olofsson’s corsi for % this season was 40.4%, meaning the other team was controlling the puck nearly 60% of the time while Olofsson was on the ice. As Olofsson started nearly 75% (73.3%) of his shifts in the defensive zone, this number is not as poor as it necessarily seems to be.

As a fourth-line, grinder, defensive-type forward, Olofsson was not expected to chip in a lot offensively but was expected to win faceoffs, play sound defensive hockey, and mitigate mistakes.

As a tweener-type player in North America, it isn’t surprising that Olofsson would weigh his options and look to return to Europe to continue his professional career.

Is Olofsson a player the Avalanche should guarantee a one-way contract to? A one-way contract is a contract guaranteed at the NHL level, with no option to return to the minor leagues.

As Olofsson did not offer much offensively, averaged less than one hit per game (45 hits in 57 games) and was on the losing end of more faceoffs than not, the Avalanche don’t need to roster Olofsson next season.

He’s already 27 years old and has likely become what he’ll be for the rest of his career. If they would like to go with an older, veteran, grinder-type player who can anchor the fourth line, they can sign a player like Kevin Rooney. They can also open an opportunity for a younger player on a lesser contract to make the team during training camp. A player like Riley Tufte comes to mind.

Overall, it appears to be a win for both sides if Olofsson returns to Europe to play. He played hard and Avalanche faithful should appreciate the way he played, but the Avalanche will fill that spot next season with someone else.