When Maxim Noreau signed a two-year AHL deal with the Colorado Avalanche in 2014-15, he surely viewed the opportunity as his best chance to return to the NHL. But when the organization chose instead to promote youngsters like Nikita Zadorov and Chris Bigras to bolster its struggling NHL blue line (and claim Andrew Bodnarchuk off waivers), he likely saw the writing on the wall. Friends of the site, Eurolanche, reported today Noreau signed a deal with Switzerland's top-tier Bern franchise, returning to the country where he had played his previous three seasons prior to signing again in North America.
Max Noreau, the best Rampage d-man, has left #Avs organization. He'll play in Switzerland for the next 2 years, team of Bern confirmed.— Avs European FanClub (@Eurolanche) April 25, 2016
Noreau was a prolific scorer in his time with the Lake Erie Monsters and San Antonio Rampage, chalking up 75 points in 103 games, including 20 goals. A right-handed puck-moving defenseman, he was likely seen as veteran insurance for a Tyson Barrie or Zach Redmond injury. He is a veteran of six NHL games, all with the Minnesota Wild spanning two seasons.
This is the first of likely many offseason announcements to the Avalanche 50-man organizational roster. With 27 players designated restricted or unrestricted free agents, there is sure to be plenty of turnover. More to come as we hear about it.