Liles and Foote re-sign with Avalanche
It seems like John-Michael Liles and Adam Foote have signed contract extensions with the Avalanche. Liles was expected to draw a lot of interest on the open market but decided to stay with Colorado. He will earn $4 million per year over the next 4 years. It could have been about $0.5 and $1 million more on the open market.
Adam Foote meanwhile signed an extension worth $6 million over two years. That is $1.6 million less than he earned last year.
After those signings, Colorado has six defensemen under contract who skated regularly with the Avalanche last year. Kyle Cumiskey who played 38 games last year before getting injured is also under contract for another year. Jeff Finger and Kurt Sauer have not signed new contracts so far. Colorado will probably only try to keep Finger who has turned out to be a decent NHL defenseman at the age of 29. If Colorado re-signs Finger that would leave them with 8 players on the blueline who would compete for a spot in training camp.
The back-end seems seems to be set going into July 1.
Looking at the position in goal, there is one spot to be filled. Peter Budaj is still under contract, Jose Theodore will test the open market and decide later if he wants to return to the Avalanche. There are different scenarios for Colorado:
- Colorado will try to sign a new starting goalie. This group includes Theodore and Huet.
- The Avalanche will look for a goalie to share the duties with Peter Budaj. Names like Ty Conklin, Robert Esche or Curtis Joseph come to mind.
- The third option would mean, Colorado will try to get a new goalie via a trade. Manny Fernandez, Dwayne Roloson or even Martin Gerber could be available.
- The last scenario would be that Colorado wants to solve this 'problem' in-house. Meaning that Budaj will get the chance to establish himself as an NHL starting goalie and Tyler Weiman will become his backup.
After the defense and goal that leaves us with the forwards. If you include Scott Parker and T.J. Hensick, the Avalanche have 9 forwards under contract. RFAs Wolski, Svatos, McLeod and McCormick were all qualified. If Colorado is able to work out a deal with those players, there are 13 forwards signed. Andrew Brunette will leave via free agency.
If both, Forsberg and Sakic, should return, Hensick might spend more time in the minors. McLeod, Parker and McCormick could also find themselves in Lake Erie after training camp. This will happen, if general manager Francois Giguere decides to add some new free agents to the line-up.
All in all, don't expect Colorado to be a big player in the NHL free agent frenzy. There are only a few spots open on the roster and Colorado might be looking to add some depth or some veterans for the farm team.