The Avalanche released their RFA qualification list on Monday evening and some familiar names won’t be joining us for the upcoming season. Unless they actually do, of course. Not qualifying someone turns them loose on the UFA market Saturday but it’s not a firm goodbye in every case. Let’s look at how it all breaks down.
UFA’s to be
The only surprises here for me are Gabe Bourque getting a QO, only because I wasn’t sure if he wanted to come back to a team that even in dire need of forwards never called him up, and Sam Henley not receiving one.
As far as the qualified guys go, Andrighetto, Grimaldi, Nieto and Zadorov were all protected in the XD so those were slam dunks. I don’t know what I see that few others do but it’s no surprise that Duncan comes back. He’s most likely going to be the captain in San Antonio next year and proved that he can do spot duty in the NHL if needed. Felix Girard is a grinder deluxe, a good leader in the AHL and a favorite of Eric Veilleux.
Mikhail Grigorenko still hasn’t been able to put together the consistency of skill we see flashes of occasionally and his poor skating is yet another reason for the staff to consider moving on. I will say this, his QO would have been $1.3M 1-way, which certainly isn’t appealing from the Avs side so there’s the possibility they re-sign him at something like half that if he’s willing to take it. If anyone else wants to up the ante then good on them.
Patrick Weircioch was a terrible fit last season and if the Roy/Bednar swap had happened before July 1st I doubt that mistake would have been made. Patty’s got some game for the right team, I hope he finds a team that can use him properly.
Eric Gelinas was nothing short of a disaster in Colorado. Everyone was looking at the board last weekend lamenting the 3rd rounder wasted on a trade that never should have been made. He ended up as a 3rd pair PP specialist (and not a good one) in the AHL and that’s something the pro scouting staff should have seen coming but didn’t. This whole nightmare is on them.
Turner Elson got hurt after like 3 games for the Rampage and ended up playing only 13 total, ironically his jersey number. From what I saw he could have been a big help but like Taylor Beck the year before, injuries and lack of production equal a new address.
Troy Bourke had a rough go in the Avs org. He never hit it off with Dean Chynoweth, but even so didn’t manage to take advantage of the opportunities he was given. Cowboy Troy can skate and he’s proficient without the puck and on the PK so he’ll find a job somewhere, but he needs a fresh start.
Last we come to Big Sam Henley. I’m a die-hard member of his fan club and despite his 1.00 goals per game average in the NHL, he’s not really an NHLer. The lack of speed is always going to be his Achilles heel and he never was able to get out of the bottom-6 role in the AHL. That said, he’s a fantastic roleplayer and leader and barring NHL contract offers elsewhere I would be overjoyed to see him stay in the org on an AHL deal. I can’t imagine the Avs feel different.