Think it's time the Avs should spill the beans?
This past summer saw a lot of last season's free agents resigned. The really interesting part was the length of the deals. The amounts made reaching the potential cap floor very easy but why two to three year deals? Are players like Gaunce, Barrie, Elliott, Malone and company that far off? Sure it's nice to have players compete to earn a spot as you will have potential NHL level assets to trade when a youngster breaks in...but why has a team so open to young players all of a sudden extended their own and signed other teams' UFA like Zanon?
Take a moment and let that sink in. In the past, teams generally protected 9 forwards, 5 defensemen, and a goalie. Players with 2 or less pro seasons were exempt but teams had to leave two forwards and one defensemen with recent NHL game time. Protect a second goalie and the protected list shifts with less protected players and goalie requirements.
Why would that matter to the Avs? Well for one they have good NHL depth. An expansion draft hurts the deeper teams especially with the requirements. You would think if the draft happened next summer, the Avs would have someone like Landeskog exempt and then protect the best 9 forwards. Same with the defense. What happens when you fill the bottom spots with rookies? Or the role players are UFAs in the summer? Drop Hejduk, Kobasew, an exempt Connolly, and a possible unsigned Highlander along with Landeskog and who ends up being your two players with recent NHL experience. Olver may not even qualify. So who do you want to lose? Downie? McGinn?
Same on defense, let Shane and Hunny go, not sign Zanon and have ROB as an UFA... Who do you leave unprotected? Wilson? Sure the easy part is saying who you want to drop but what happens when one or more rookies take up spots?
It comes down to needing cannon fodder for the potential expansion. While it would be nice to see the rookies getting some NHL time, it is also important the Avs have some balance between vets and youth outside their top players. Signing a vet to a multi year contract allows the Avs to have someone outside their top players to offer. 2-3 years gives them a chance to prepare for next summer or possibly the next.
Last thing the Avs want is to lose some of their NHL depth to expansion then to lose more to free agency.