The most offensively talented team in the NHL, the Colorado Avalanche, is having another exciting season. Currently, without center Nathan MacKinnon, things seem to be going well without their top player. However, this team could look quite different come next season.
Trade deadline 2022 is approaching fast and could be very interesting for the Avalanche. However, the offseason could be one to watch as the team has nine free agents ready to test the market if they are not re-signed by Colorado.
With goaltending being a question, and Marc-Andre Fleury being rumored to be on the block, do the Avalanche make a move and trade assets for his services? Or do they stand pat, keep those free agents for now, and look for a goaltender in free agency?
Plenty of Avalanche players are on the clock as the second half begins.
Some of these players won’t be re-signed, while some will be brought back on team-friendly deals. Those include goaltenders Darcy Kuemper ($4.5M) and Pavel Francouz ($2M), forwards Andrei Burakovsky ($4.9M), Nazem Kadri ($4.5M), Valeri Nichushkin ($2.5M), and Nicolas Aube-Kubel ($1.075M), and defensemen Ryan Murray ($2M), Kurtis MacDermid ($750,000), and Jack Johnson ($750,000)
With the roster size currently at 21 of 23, the spots to be taken are limited going into next season if this team stays the same. However, that seems unlikely as some of the free agents will get better offers from other organizations. Here is what I would do:
Re-sign only Kadri and MacDermid. Kadri will not come cheap, but if these are the only two you bring back then you free up cash to pay both. Kadri will most likely ask for more money based on his production this season, 19 goals and 41 assists for 60 points in 41 games. MacDermid will cost you, at most, $1 million per season.
If the Avalanche gets caught with the injury bug again, Kadri could fill that top center role as he proved this year he can do that. He will want a raise and could be in line for one but, based on who else is a free agent at season’s end, he could actually come in cheap compared to others.
MacDermid is not a top-pairing defenseman and will not produce more than 20 points in a good year. However, he may be the only defenseman on the roster who will fight, get nasty in the corners, and be a physical presence on the ice at all times.
Due to the number of free agents the Avalanche have to sign this offseason, this team could look much different next season.