The Avs picked up Francois Beauchemin this summer from free agency. The immediate plan is to pair him with Erik Johnson, and since the last time Colorado picked up a defensemen in his upper 30s to pair with Johnson, that was Brad Stuart, so people panicked.
Here's a little bit of why they panicked. I've animated the last three 3-year spans of Beauchemin's career, starting from 2011-2013 and ended with 2013-2015. Watch the possession numbers. (Sorry it jumps around, I took shit screenshots apparently.)
Now he's still scoring like a bastard. He's not likely to repeat his 10% shooting last season, a career high 11 goals in 64 GP, but he can still put the puck in the net. Assuming, of course, he has it to shoot it. But this is another multi-year bet on a guy who's starting to show his age in the area this team needs help the most: shot suppression.
But Beauchemin is still a good defender, you guys. Last season he still had an okay impact on his team's shot suppression in a fairly average situation for his career (dCA Impact -10.28). He was paired almost all of the time with Hampus Lindholm, who is a decent player but was also a 21-year old in his second NHL season.
What does it mean for 2015?
Beauchemin is a tough one to call next year. He's old enough that any injury could slow him down for months even after he's "healed," so we kind of have to assume best-case scenario here.
Beauchemin paired with EJ should have a little bit of a nicer go of it than Beauchemin paired with Lindholm, so his numbers honestly have a decent chance to improve this year, even if he is getting older. An important factor, though, is how well an aging Beauchemin keeps up. He might keep rolling backwards as in the animation above. We can't really know for sure. It's absolutely reasonable, though, to expect him to actually stick on the Avs' top pair this season. As Zadorov or hell, even Bigras develop in the coming years, they will be ready to supplant him until he's an overpaid 3rd pair guy, and that's okay, assuming he isn't an underwater 1st pair guy for the Avalanche this year.
So the final conclusion at least for me is that Beauchemin should be fine this season. I don't expect him to be an all-world 1D and neither should anybody else (save maybe burgundyRainbow). But I don't expect him to be a punting pylon of penalties either, like the signing too many fans insist on comparing him to. We'll look back on 2015-16 for ol' FB and, much like Randy Carlyle, think he was okay. Just okay.