I hope everyone has had a chance to recover from the draft weekend, because free agency starts on Wednesday. As usual, it will be a crazy day (amazing how those multimillion dollar deals get pulled off in a matter of hours, isn't it *wink* *wink* *nudge* *nudge*?) although I don't expect the Avalanche to be tremendously busy. Here's a glance at where the Avalanche stand heading into free agency.
Key Pending UFAs (with last year cap hit): Joe Sakic ($6m), Tyler Arnason ($1.7m), Ian Laperriere ($1.2m), Ben Guite ($475k) Daniel Tjarnqvist ($750k), Andrew Raycroft ($800k)
Key Pending RFAs (with minimum QO): David Jones ($605k), Cody McCormick ($574k), Kyle Cumiskey ($607k), Peter Budaj ($840k)
Salary Cap Room: $11.45 million
Key Needs: The Avalanche need a quality, veteran goalie and a top-6 forward (or 6).
Potential Targets: Dwayne Roloson, Martin Biron, Manny Fernandez, Ty Conklin, Nik Antropov, Mike Knuble
What Our Rivals Want: Flames, Wild, Oilers, Canucks
Joe Sakic has reportedly already informed the team of his upcoming decision, but that won't be announced at this time (super). Ben Guite is the only other UFA who could return. Tyler Arnason, Andrew Raycroft and Ian Laperriere are as good as gone (best of luck wherever you go, Lappy) and Daniel Tjarnqvist has already bolted for Russia.
The Avalanche will probably not be big spenders in the market this year, but they do need to acquire a goaltender. While they need a scoring forward as well, I think they are worried about their cap health (and financial bottom line) and won't take on another sizeable contract unless they find a way to move Ryan Smyth or Scott Hannan. Figure the Avs to add their goalie on Wednesday and perhaps a couple of depth players, but that's about it.