Offseason. Looking at the Avs Move so Far, and What to Expect Going Forward

Posted: June 9, 2012 in Offseason

Since the offseason has started, the Avs have begun to sign their free agents, but still have a lot of decisions to make. Colorado first opened their checkbook to the captain, Milan Hejduk. He signed a 1 year deal worth $2 Million. It was a quality move for the Avs, and I’m glad to see Hejduk coming back.

Next, the Avs signed Cody McLeod, signing him to a 3 year, $3.45 Million contract. McLeod had a decent year for the Avs, but I think 3 years is a bit excessive. I can’t imagine that 2 or 3 years from now there will be a roster spot for him, so it makes me wonder why they would sign him for that long. The cap hit is so small however, that I do not think it is a big deal.

The Avs continued spending and made a couple of bold moves by signing David Jones to a 4 year, $16 Million contract, and followed that up by giving Matt Hunwick a 2 year, $3.2 Million deal. Both deals initially came as a surprise for different reasons, but I like both signings. Lets start with Jones’ contract…

At first, I thought $4 Million dollars a year for David Jones was a bit excessive, but he has averaged 23.5 goals a year over the past two seasons and is still only 27 years old. And then I looked at unrestricted right wingers that the Avs could sign, and I thought it was an even better deal. The slim pickings at RW include: Teemu Selanne (Not happening), Shane Doan (Not happening), Brad Boyes, Jamie Langenbrunner, and PA Parenteau. Realistically, because the Avs have no chance at Selanne or Doan, I would rather have Jones over most (if not all) the unrestricted RW’s out there. I wouldn’t mind seeing the Avs make a run at Parenteau, but making sure they got Jones back with this free agent class is important.

I like the Matt Hunwick signing because…well, he was actually pretty good last year. People were quick to point out how bad Hunwick was after the trade first happened, myself included, but he was solid this year, and you can never have enough NHL caliber defensemen. I hope and believe that Hunwick will spend a lot more time in the starting lineup next fall.

But, the Avs still have A LOT to do. They have a ton of restricted free agents to sign that will shape the team for years to come. The list of RFA’s includes:

Matt Duchene: 5 years, $25 Million/ Whatever O’Reilly Gets
Ryan O’Reilly: 5 years, $25 Million/ Whatever Duchene gets
Peter Mueller: 2 years, $5 Million
Steve Downie: 3 years, $8.5 Million
Jamie McGinn: 3 years, $8.5 Million
Erik Johnson: 5 years, $25 Million

Those are clearly just guesses at this point, but I think those 6 players are locks to be signed for next year. The Avs also have a couple unrestricted free agents they could sign. Jay McClement and Shane O’Brien are the two remaining players that could sign anywhere they please, and I’m sure the Avs will try and bring them both back.

Jay McClement added soooo much to the Avs. Not only was he a leader on the ice (wore an “A”, great penalty killer) but also helped a lot of the players grow off the ice. The Avs really need to resign this guy.

Shane O’Brien on the other hand, is rather disposable in my opinion. I hope the Avs re-sign the guy for next year, but I also hope they then proceed to trade him sometime during the season. I know what you’re saying, “But he’s a great guy in the locker room, stands up for his teammates on the ice, everyone loves him.” But the Avs already have 6 defensemen I would rather see out there: Johnson, Hejda, O’Byrne, Wilson, Hunwick, Elliott/Barrie. I was not a fan of Elliott or Barrie last year, but after a year of development I expect them to be a lot better come October. I do think the Avs should sign Shane O’Brien, as an insurance policy, but I would also not be too upset to see him traded during the season.

I would love to see Ray Whitney wearing the burgundy and blue next fall

After signing the 6 RFA’s, roughly $23.25 Million to the cap next year, and then adding another $10? Million for the 2 UFA’s and the rest of the RFA’s (Wilson, Olver, Porter?) that leaves the Avs roughly $8 Million below the cap for free agency. Wow, that adds up quickly. I don’t think the Avs should waste is all on a guy like Parise or Semin, but here are a few players I would like to see the Avs go after, for the right price:

Ray Whitney: 2 years, $3-4 Million per year
Steve Sullivan: 1-2 years, $2.25 Million per year
Jiri Hudler: 2 years, $2-3 Million per year

The Avs need to add veterans to help out their young guys, and I would be stoked to see the Avs land any of those players. It should be an exciting next couple of weeks for the organization with the draft coming up, players getting next contracts, and of course free agency. Stay tuned, it should be fun!


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