As July 1 nears, Avs fans everywhere are waiting for the team to start throwing money into the free agent pool. It is an exciting time to be a fan. In one day, your favorite team can add key pieces without giving up any players or prospects. But I personally am hoping the Avs wait one more year before going after any big free agents.
Many Avs fans are hoping the team makes a serious run at Zach Parise. There is a lot to like about him: his age, his ability, and what position he plays, but if the Avs are going to spend $7 Million+ for one player, I’m hoping they wait one more year.
To be honest, the free agent class of 2012 is pretty weak in my opinion. After Parise, Ryan Suter, and Alex Semin, there are really not too many team changers out there. Sure adding someone like Shane Doan, Ray Whitney, or PA Parenteau would be nice, but they are not going to change the team into instant contenders for the Stanley Cup.
I do hope the Avs go out and sign a second tier player like Whitney, but the one thing I don’t want to see, is the Avs waste a lot of their cap space on this free agent class. Since it is unlikely that Parise, Suter, or Semin sign with the Avs, I don’t want to see the Avs throw money at the problem, and overpay second tier players, like the Buffalo Sabres did last summer.
If you take a look at the 2013 unrestricted free agent list, you will see names like Jarome Iginla, Patrik Elias, Ryan Getzlaf, Corry Perry, Andy McDonald, Joffrey Lupul, Scott Hartnell, Derek Roy, Jordan Staal, Travis Zajac, and Nathan Horton, and those are just the forwards. Now I know that some of those players will likely reach a deal with their current teams over the next 12 months, but you know that some are going to see the open market in a year. Most (if not all) of those players would be upgrades over the current UFA’s that the Avs have a chance of signing in a couple of days. That is why I think the Avs should once again be around the cap floor come October.
Notable defensemen include: Kimmo Timonen, Lubomir Visnovsky, Mark Streit, Ryan Whitney, Tobias Enstrom, and Alex Edler. Once again, some players will resign sometime in the next year, but some will wait to see what everyone has to offer.
All in all, the 2013 class is much deeper than the current crop of UFA’s. The Avs should also be one year closer to contending for a title as players like Matt Duchene, Ryan O’Reilly, Erik Johnson, and Semyon Varlamov will have another year of development and growth under their belt. This should mean that it would be easier to attract UFA’s to Colorado than it currently is, which means it might not be as expensive as it would be this year.
There is another big reason why the Avs should wait another year to sign a big name free agent, and it is the collective bargaining agreement ends in September, and no one knows what the new one will look like. There could be changes to how player contracts work, especially the contracts with a lot of money and years involved, which is exactly the kind of contract the Avs would have to throw out there in order to land Parise, Suter, or Semin this year.
I know it is frustrating to see your team not spending money on free agents, but I believe the smart thing for the Avs to do is to add a piece here and there, but wait one more year before they rise from the cap floor and start trying to sign big name free agents.