Every year around this time, I like to look at the Avalanche roster and take stock of everyone's contract status with an eye towards who will be back next year and who might be potentially on the market at the deadline. I don't get many things right here, but looking back at last year's entry, it wasn't all that far off. This year - at least for goalie - the waters are a little murkier.
The Avalanche currently have one goalie in the system under contract next year. That goalie would be Trevor Cann, who has spent much of this season in the CHL. Cann was a 2nd round pick in the 2007 draft and it doesn't look like he'll be panning out for the Avs. He shouldn't feel too bad, though; none of the goalies in that draft have played in the NHL to date.
The real question, of course, is whether or not the Avalanche will extend Craig Anderson. At this time last year, Anderson was a lock to be locked up long-term, and a deal in the $4 million range wouldn't have raised many eyebrows. Anderson hasn't dominated this year, though, and there aren't any indications yet as to whether he will return after his contract ($1.82 million per year) expires this summer.
If Anderson doesn't return, it is safe to say that the Avs' next starting goalie is not currently in the system. Peter Budaj ($1.2 million), John Grahame ($500,000) and Jason Bacashihua ($500,000) are all UFA's this summer. None would be expected to be a go-to guy in Colorado next year and unsigned prospects Calvin Pickard and Sami Aittokallio are likely a couple of years away. Potential free agents include J.S. Giguere, Ilya Bryzgalov, Tomas Vokoun and Jimmy Howard - not exactly an inspiring crop even if all end up hitting the market.
What the Avalanche do at the deadline will likely depend on whether or not they intend to re-sign Anderson this summer. If that's the case, don't expect any goaltender movement either in or out at the deadline. If Greg Sherman and the Avalanche brass feel that the team will need to go in a new direction, it wouldn't be out of the question to see a goaltender swap at the deadline, similar to moving David Aebischer for Jose Theodore (hopefully with better results).
Gut feeling? Anderson will be back, but the Avalanche part ways with Budaj to shake things up a little.
Next Year's Projected Lineup:
- Craig Anderson: $3.5 million
- Random NHL backup: $600,000
Projected Total Cap Hit: $4.1 million