Most of us weren't expecting anything earth-shattering from the newly budget-conscious Avalanche, and that's basically what we got. The Avalanche signed just two players yesterday. First, they signed Florida backup Craig Anderson to a 2-year, $3.6 million contract. As I mentioned yesterday, I really like this deal on several levels. Anderson is a talented goalie, but Budaj will also have his opportunity as well. A good signing by Greg Sherman. As MHH community member hockeymom reported, Anderson was in Colorado recently for the 24 Hours of Hockey Aurora Children's Hospital Benefit. Coincidence? The Avalanche also signed enforcer David Koci. I'm not as excited about this one. Perhaps the Avalanche missed the memo that the single-faceted goons are becoming extinct. Teams are moving more towards players who can play a little bit, and fight when called upon. Guys like Ian Laperriere and Cody McCormick. Oops.
So far, it seems clear that the Avalanche are committed to keeping their payroll under control. Whether they are doing this to make more money for Stan Kroenke or if they are just maneuvering to position themselves to grab one of the succulent fruits from the free agent tree next summer (Kovalchuk) remains to be seen. Either way, the purse strings are certainly not open right now, and I suspect Anderson may be the biggest Avalanche signing to date. We've got this live thread going, though, just in case anything happens.
You might also want to keep an eye on Dater's blog as he was the one who broke the Anderson signing long before the ESPN guys could
rip him off cite him as a source. He also had the news that Ty Conklin was not coming to Denver and that Brian Willsie is in negotiations with the team (inexplicably). And probably something about Ambien, too, but I'm not 100% sure on that. Oh wait, he also confirmed for us that Michael Vernace and Jason Bacashihua were not given qualifying offers (a bit of a head scratcher, that). Clearly, NH grows some talented Avalanche writers.
Around the NW, the Canucks lost Mathias Ohlund (as expected) but retained the Sedins and still have plenty of money left over to give to Mats Sundin next February. The Wild replaced Marian Gaborik with a cheaper Martin Havlat (a move that I like). The Flames already had acquired Jay Boumeester before the start of free agency. And the Oilers upgraded their team significantly (in my opinion) by signing Nikolia Khabibulin. Four of the five NW teams now have a stud goalie, and divisional games will be tough for the Avs.
- G Peter Budaj (Col): 1 year / $1.25 million
- G Craig Anderson (Fla): 2 years / $1.8 million
- F David Koci (TB): 1 year / $575K
- F Martin Havlat (Chi): 5 years / $6 million
- F Daniel Sedin (Van): 5 years / $6.1 million
- F Henrik Sedin (Van): 5 years / $6.1 million
- D Aaron Rome (CBJ): 1 year / $550k