Back in March, Ryan wrote an article arguing how the Avalanche should use their $20 million cap space this offseason on other things besides attracting free agents. I agree! For the most part anyways. Read through that and you will find the Avs have already landed Andrei Mironov. It seems more and more plausible that Joe Sakic is going to buy out Francois Beauchemin’s contract as well. I would like to think swapping out Beauchemin for Mironov would instantly make the Avs’ defense better, however, beyond that, the defense still needs work. That is why some free agents will need to be signed.
Before we examine a list of ten players that might fit the Avalanche, let us carefully review which areas Colorado needs to improve in:
That includes defensemen, forwards, goalies, water boys, and everything in between. So now that we covered that in thorough detail, on to some hockey people that could improve this hockey team.
Alexander Radulov, RW, Montreal.
If the Avs are going to go after any “big name” free agents, I think Radulov is the one to pursue. There was a time last summer when Colorado was in the running for teams that would land the coveted Russian. The Habs ended up winning his services, and he was a good contributor with 18 goals and 36 assists in 76 regular season games, along with 2 goals and 5 assists in the playoff series against the Rangers. The 30 year old will probably want a hefty sized contract, and even if the Avs offer him a deal for several years that goes for about $7 million/year, they still have approximately $13 million left in the tank.
Dwight King, LW, Montreal.
King would be a worthy addition in Colorado because of his potential to lessen the gap the Avalanche have against other teams when it comes to third/fourth line talent. It did not take careful observation to see last season that the Avs bottom lines were drastically worse than that of their opposition’s. King knows what it’s like to be on winning teams thanks to his time with the Kings in their heyday from several years ago. Perhaps he could teach the squad a thing or two about what it’s like to be that way instead of a bottom-feeder.
Nick Bonino, C, Pittsburgh.
Very similar reasoning here as to the argument to sign King. Do the Avs need both these guys? Probably not, but one of them would be good news. Bonino is 30 and has been a solid part of the Penguins’ success these last couple of seasons. Seeing as how the Penguins have to pay guys like Crosby, Malkin, Kessel, and either Matt Murray or Marc-Andre Fleury, Bonino could be expendable and up for grabs. Assuming the Avs keep Duchene, we could be looking at a center lineup of 1) Duchene/MacKinnon, 2) MacK/Dutch, 3) Bonino, 4) Soderberg.
Darcy Kuemper, G, Minnesota.
I feel there’s a good chance Vegas is going to end up with Varlamov if Pickard is the one goaltender the Avalanche choose to protect. Pittsburgh’s situation with Murray/Fleury might be the only thing keeping that from happening. Hypothetically, let’s say either Varly or Picks is in Sin City this fall. Jeremy Smith is not who you want being a full-time #2 tender, so the Avs will need someone else. In such case, enter Darcy Kuemper, who briefly tormented Colorado in the playoff series against the Wild three years ago. He’s been good to Minnesota behind Devan Dubnyk. If Minnesota chooses not to bring him back, he might be worth a look.
Michael Stone, D, Calgary.
Stone had a nice first year in Calgary, playing 64 regular season games with a stat line of 3 goals, 12 assists, and most importantly a +/- of 0. He’d spent his time in Arizona before this season with the Flames, and at only 26, Stone is a solid defenseman that would help stabilize the Avs’ defense. Let’s say the lineup is Johnson-Zadorov, Barrie-Mirnov, and depending on what happens with Barberio, there could be one or two open spots on that third defensive pairing. Stone would be a good guy to plug into the third defensive pairing.
Jaromir Jagr, RW, Florida
Honestly. Why not? The Avs aren’t gonna contend for the Stanley Cup next year. Consequently, seats might be hard to fill at Pepsi Center. So compensate for that by signing one of the most popular players in NHL history. Jagr is still contributing too. He played all 82 games this past season with Florida and totaled 16 goals and 30 assists. The only issue here is that Jagr probably wants to win at his old age, not mentor. But, if he is on board with mentoring, sign him to a year deal and let him teach these losers how to win. You may laugh and say no, but I don’t see how a short-term deal with Jagr is a bad move.
Which of these players would you most like to see Colorado sign?
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