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The Avalanche signed two former members of the Toronto Maple Leafs in Andrew Raycroft and Darcy Tucker who were just recently bought out of their contracts.

The signing of Andrew Raycroft is, in my opinion, more about goalie coach Jeff Hackett than Raycroft. Hackett was brought to the Avs to work with Jose Theodore and bring him back on track. Both of them already worked together in Montreal when Theodore emerged as one of the league's elite goaltenders. Hackett worked also briefly with Raycroft in Boston. General manager Francois Giguere probably expects that Hackett can help Raycroft gaining his Calder Trophy form again. If Raycroft can improve his confidence in his abilities this signing could turn out real well for the Avalanche.

Going into free agency you could expect that Darcy Tucker would get something around $2 million. He will now earn $2.2 million in his first and $2.3 million in his second year with Colorado. Tucker should be able to score 15 to 20 goals and 30 to 40 points. Together with Ian Laperriere and Ben Guite he could combine for a very good third line and sometimes play somewhere in the top two lines. However, Tucker follows a tradition of NHL super pests in Denver when you take a look at this:
1995-1999 Claude Lemieux
1999 Dale Hunter
2002 Darius Kasparaitis
2004 Matthew Barnaby

There were also players like Shjon Podein, Dan Hinote, Mike Keane or Bryan Marchment under contract with the Avalanche. Besides Tucker, there is also Ian Laperriere playing a very important role for Colorado. Together with yesterday's signing of Per Ledin (the Swedish version of Sean Avery) the Avalanche feature some pretty good agitators.
Cody McLeod and Cody McCormick might be replaced in the line-up by Tucker, since they played a similar role. If those two players still stay on the roster for next season, Colorado will have a lot more grit next year then last year.

Colorado has now 2 goalies, 7 defensemen (Cumiskey included) and 10 forwards (Parker, Hensick and Jones included) under contract. There are also 4 RFAs up front. Should Joe Sakic decide to come back, either Hensick or Parker could play for the Lake Erie Monsters if Colorado does not make any other free agent signings or trades until training camp.
Filed Under:   Tucker   Raycroft   Colorado  
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