A Monster of Free Agents

DENVER CO - NOVEMBER 6: David Van Der Gulik #7 of the Colorado Avalanche is hauled down by Nicklas Grossman #2 of the Dallas Stars during the first period of their game at the Pepsi Center on November 6 2010 in Denver Colorado. (Photo by Marc Piscotty/Getty Images)

We all know that the Avalanche have a ton of guys to sign this off season. What hasn't been discussed in as much detail is that the huge free agent market extends to the Lake Erie Monsters as well. Currently, about half of Colorado's non-roster players are either in RFA or UFA status, and all but one are on two-way contracts, meaning they could be called up at any time.

Goalies

Age Status NHL Cap Hit GP GA SO GAA W L SOL SA SVS SAV%
Cedrick Desjardins 26 UFA $650,000 32 68 3 2.11 16 11 5 997 929 0.932
Trevor Cann 23 RFA $875,000 25 71 0 2.92 9 16 0 724 653 0.902

The Avalanche is deep with goaltenders in the pipeline, having just signed Sami Aittokallio, Kieran Millan, and Kent Patterson. Add in Calvin Pickard, and the team currently has four 'tenders on contract. With so many options, the futures of Cedrick Desjardins and Trevor Cann are in question. It's unlikely Cann will receive a qualifying offer. He simply wasn't good enough to force Greg Sherman's hand on that issue. Desjardins is another story. As an unrestricted free agent, it's probable that the 26-year-old will consider his options. The NHL market is flooded with back up goaltenders, though, so he may end up with few suitors. With so much talent competing for two spots on the Lake Erie Monsters' roster, Sherman has some thinking to do.

Forwards

Name Age Status NHL Cap Hit Pos GP G A PTS +/- PIM PPG SHG Pt/G PIMPG SOG
Evan Brophey 25 UFA $525,000 C 72 18 21 39 -7 58 7 0 0.54 0.81 154
Greg Mauldin 29 UFA $525,000 LW 59 16 18 34 5 17 5 2 0.58 0.29 172
David van der Gulik 29 UFA $525,000 RW 40 12 16 28 1 36 5 0 0.7 0.9 104
Patrick Rissmiller 33 UFA $525,000 LW 49 13 16 29 0 34 5 0 0.59 0.69 125
Zach Cohen 25 RFA $735,000 LW 43 2 5 7 1 10 0 0 0.16 0.23 47
Justin Mercier 24 UFA $525,000 LW 76 14 11 25 -2 79 1 2 0.33 1.04 154
Patrick Bordeleau 26 RFA $525,000 LW 52 4 4 8 -1 96 0 0 0.15 1.85 28
Ryan Stoa 25 UFA $803,250 C 75 16 20 36 -6 65 1 0 0.48 0.87 189
Joakim Lindstrom 28 UFA $600,000 C 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Lots of UFAs in the forward corps, yet given the lack of true forward prospects to develop, most of them could come back. Certainly, Joakim Lindstrom will not be re-signed. His request to return to Europe last season sealed that deal. The performances of Evan Brophey, Greg Mauldin, Patrick Rissmiller, and Ryan Stoa should make re-signing them extremely likely. The dollar amounts, however, may change. No doubt David van der Gulik will get an offer; in addition to a sound year in Ohio, he posted 6 points (1g, 5a) in 25 games with the Avs last season. More importantly, he was solid and never looked out of place. That kind of depth is valuable to any team. Justin Mercier is a tougher call. His game was quite middle-of-the-road. Zach Cohen and Patrick Bordeleau are RFAs, but neither player had a good enough season to make qualifying offers a given. Thus, the forward line up in Lake Erie could end up looking quite like the one in the 2011-2012 season, or it could see some new faces. Only time will tell.

Defense


Age Status NHL Cap Hit GP G A PTS +/- PIM PPG SHG Pt/G PIMPG SOG
Danny Richmond 27 UFA $525,000 47 2 9 11 6 86 2 0 0.23 1.83 40
David Liffiton 27 UFA $525,000 65 3 5 8 -14 149 2 0 0.12 2.29 52
Jake Newton 23 RFA $900,000 31 1 2 3 1 8 0 0 0.1 0.26 43
Jonas Holos 24 RFA $785,000 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Most likely, Jonas Holos won't be re-signed. The Norwegian asked to be released from his contract early in the 2011-2012 season which saw him a healthy scratch for the Monsters early on. David Liffiton isn't so cut and dry. He's provided leadership to the Monsters and, prior to injury, was solid for the team in the 2010-2011 season. 2011-2012 wasn't as good for the defenseman, though. Still, he was the Monsters' captain, which shows the organization has faith in him.

In February 2012, the Avs traded Mark Carman for Danny Richmond. In 23 games, Richmond scored two goals and had five assists. Like Liffiton, he was a veteran presence in the Monsters' locker room. With a lot of options for the blueline, Liffiton and/or Richmond may be moving on. Jake Newton spent time between the Monsters and the CHL affiliate Allen Americans. As a reliable call up for the Monsters, a qualifying offer is a reasonable expectation.

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