Subtle mid-season moves and the youth movement provide at least some reason for cautious optimism in Avalanche world. When we think of the future for the Colorado Avalanche, we of course first think of Tyson Jost, who recently made his Avalanche debut, as well as Mikko Rantanen, JT Compher and Nikita Zadorov. But the Avs also quietly picked up three cast offs from other teams whose names all end in “o” that may or may not factor into their long term plans. These players, Mark Barberio, Sven Andrighetto and Matt Nieto, have, at a minimum, made them a more entertaining team to watch. From my vantage point, one common denominator with all three is their speed and playmaking ability. All three skate and see the ice well, attributes the Avs have needed more of throughout this painfully long, dismal season. Andrighetto and Nieto will both be restricted free agents after this year, Depending on their contractual expectations, I look for the Avs to try to sign both, particularly Andrighetto, who has registered 5 goals and 6 assists in 14 games since joining the team. Barberio is under contract through the 2017/18 season. Ideally, the Avalanche will bolster their defensive unit such that he can aptly fill a 5/6 role as most analysts have had him slotted. In the meantime though he, as well as Andrighetto and Nieto, have stepped into elevated roles and performed nicely. In a season with not many positives, I will take it.
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