It's Labor Day here in the US and Labour Day up in Canada (it's pretty much the same thing, but one has more vowels). With most of our readers enjoying a day off from work today - including yours truly - I thought I'd take a look at five of last years Avalanche players still looking for employment this offseason.
#5 D Tom Preissing. Preissing seems light years away from the guy in 2005 who scored 43 points in San Jose while playing over 20 minutes a game. He was unimpressive in 4 games with the Avalanche last year but did put up good numbers with the Avs' AHL affiliate, scoring 31 points in 49 games with Lake Erie. Sadly, Preissing was bought out by Colorado a move we think was done in order to eat cap space and help get the Avalanche to the cap floor.
#4 F Darcy Tucker. Snicker all you want, but Tucker has 14 years and 476 more NHL points than you do. The 35-year old didn't play up to his $2.25 million yearly salary in Colorado but it certainly could be worse; he eats $1 million of the Maple Leafs cap space for each of the next 4 years. Tucker was reportedly a solid locker room presence and a mentor to his basement tenent, Ryan O'Reilly, factors which may still help him find employment in the fall. He needs just 53 more games to hit 1,000 in his career.
#3 F Stephane Yelle. Yelle is even closer to the 1,000-game mark (just 9 away), but the old fan favorite looked like a guy nearing the end of his career after he was re-acquired at the deadline last March. We've speculated here that Yelle may be thinking about retirement, but with no announcement yet it would seem that Old Yeller isn't quite ready to hang them up yet.
#2 F Matt Hendricks. Hendricks is the one player on this list that we know the Avalanche attempted to re-sign, but the two sides couldn't reach an agreement. Considering Hendricks made $500,000 last year, you have to wonder just what sort of raise he was looking for. The Avalanche have already reassigned his jersey number to Zach Cohen (all five players on this list have had their old number given away), a strong indication that there's little chance that the truculent forward will return.
#1 F Marek Svatos. Yes, last season was an utter disaster for the Svatos; 11 points in 54 games just isn't going to cut it. The former 30-goal scorer does have chops, though, and I'm a little surprised Svatos hasn't found a home yet - either here in North America or in Europe. There have been rumors lately of Svatos landing in Pittsburgh but those have yet to come to fruition.
Have a great Monday, everyone!