New Contract Projections Point To Difficult Summer For Avalanche

Colorado Hockey Now

Another day, another set of contract projections for some of the free agents set to hit the market in the NHL. And if these projections even get close to coming true, the Colorado Avalanche (and a few other teams) might be spending their time looking through the bargain bins this summer.

The Athletic posted their list of the top 50 free agents set to become unrestricted free agents, and with each free agent, gave the contract projections calculated by Evolving-Hockey. On the surface, they seem…high. Not just for Avalanche players, but for pretty much everyone set to hit the market. This will be a fascinating offseason, though. For the first time in a while, the salary cap is actually going to go up a significant amount. The past few years, NHL general managers have shown restraint in July because they haven’t had a ton of money to throw around. That might not be the case this summer.

Three players currently on the Avalanche roster snuck into the top 50. Those three players are Sean Walker, Jonathan Drouin, and Yakov Trenin. The other day, we saw one set of contract projections that gave us a glimpse into what these players might sign for this summer. This is another set, so take everything with a grain of salt. They’re also a fair bit higher, so if these numbers were to come true, the Avalanche might have a tough time retaining any of these guys due to their salary cap situation.

Let’s start with Walker, who was rated as the 23rd best player set to hit the market. They project his contract to be in the 5 year, $4,965,000 million range per season. That seems high, but it wouldn’t surprise me if that’s pretty close to what he gets. Right shot defensemen tend to get paid on the open market. We’ve already discussed that it seems likely the Avalanche won’t be able to fit Walker into their plans regardless, so we can move on.

Moving on to Drouin, they have him ranked 29th. The projected contract for him is 4 years, $4,759,000 million per year. This is a tricky one to predict. Drouin obviously fit in great with the Avalanche, but will other teams view him as a product of the system (and MacKinnon), or do they see him repeating that production for their team? If Drouin is to re-sign with the Avalanche, it will likely have to come at a cheaper contract than this, but I don’t see this being that far off from what he could get on the open market.

Then we get to Yakov Trenin, and this one caught me off guard. He’s ranked down at 46th, but it’s the projected contract that made me do a double take – 4 years, $3,356,000 per season.

Yeah, that seems really high.

I love Trenin, and I think it would be huge for the Avalanche to bring him back. He’s great in the locker room, provides some versatility in terms of where he can play in the bottom six, and brings some much needed size to the team. But at that price? Not a chance. Trenin finished the season with just 17 points. There’s a lot more to his game than picking up points, but that’s typically what gets players paid in the summer. I have a hard time seeing him get a contract like that, but you never know. All it takes is one team really falling in love with a player, and if he can get that contract, good for him. I just can’t see the Avalanche being the team that gives it to him.

Again, these are all just projections. They all won’t come true, and we see every single year that if a player doesn’t sign right away on July 1, they end up having to take a deal that doesn’t come close to what they thought they were going to get. Teams run out of money to spend really quickly. Colorado’s biggest priority this summer will be re-signing Casey Mittelstadt (and we’ll get to that soon). Once they have an idea on what that will cost, they can plan from there.

But if these and some of the other projections come close to being true, the Avalanche will likely be one of those teams waiting things out on July 1 to see what they can find in the bargain bin. That’s just the reality of where the team is at with the circumstances surrounding Gabriel Landeskog and Valeri Nichushkin.

PHP Code Snippets Powered By :