This offseason saw a proverbial “trimming of the fat” for the Avalanche. Many non-impact players saw themselves without contracts for the Avs. Who ended up where? Take a look below!
|25||Forward||Grigorenko, Mikhail||CSKA Moscow|
Francois Beauchemin is currently an Unrestricted Free Agent. The 37-year-old defenseman saw his contract bought out with 1 year remaining. This was an important move, as the buyout opened up another protection spot in the 2017 Expansion Draft. The move also opens up a roster spot, where hopefully one of the slew of young defenseman can prove themselves to be an NHL caliber player. After a concerning showing last year, it is unlikely that Beauchemin finds himself on an NHL team this season.
Rene Bourque is currently an Unrestricted Free Agent. An unlikely fit for the Avalanche, Bourque was brought in to training camp on a Professional Try Out. He seemingly impressed the right people, as he earned himself a one year contract. During the season, he proved himself to be a useful tool in the Avs lineup, being able to be slotted anywhere in the depth chart in order to help the team. At 35-years-old, though, it seems the Avs are wanting to move in a younger direction. There is a small chance Bourque gets picked up strictly as a depth player during the season.
Eric Gelinas is currently an Unrestricted Free Agent. Acquired in a trade with the New Jersey Devils in early 2016, Gelinas spent most of last season splitting his playing time between the Avalanche and the Rampage, the Avs AHL affiliate. Gelinas is known for his bomb of a slapshot and that is mostly what the Avs were looking for in him. In true Avs fashion though, he started to under-preform, scoring 0 goals in his tenure with the club while being mediocre defensively. The Avalanche decided to part ways with Gelinas. He could prove to be useful as AHL depth, as it is unlikely he signs a deal with an NHL team this season.
Cody Goloubef is currently an Unrestricted Free Agent. Goloubef was acquired in a trade mid-way through the season, in exchange for Ryan Stanton. He showed decent play in his tenure with the Avs, averaging 17 minutes of TOI, placing him 7th among the Avs defensemen. The club decided to part ways with Goloubef to make room for the log jam of young defensemen in the Avs depth chart. Goloubef could be useful as a 6th or 7th defensemen on a bad team this year.
Mikhail Grigorenko is currently signed to CSKA Moscow. Grigorenko was acquired in 2015 in a trade that saw himself, Nikita Zadorov, J. T. Compher, and the 31st pick in the 2015 Entry Draft, moving to the Avalanche in exchange for Ryan O’Reilly and Jamie McGinn. This season, unable to prove himself as a scoring winger and lacking the physicality needed for a depth role, it seemed Grigorenko was just not a good fit for the Avs. He was left unprotected in the 2017 Expansion Draft, but went un-selected and left the team as an free agent, eventually signing with CSKA Moscow of the KHL.
John Mitchell is currently an Unrestricted Free Agent. The longest tenured Avalanche player on this list, Mitchell proved useful as a depth player who could be slotted at center or on a wing, play 4th, 3rd, or 2nd line minutes if need be. He struggled this season, though, netting only 3 goals and 4 assists, whereas he had earned at least 20 points in the 4 seasons prior. He played out the last year of his contract with the Avs and it is unlikely he gets picked up by an NHL club this season, as he went unclaimed through waivers earlier in the season.
Calvin Pickard is currently signed to the Las Vegas Golden Knights. The loss that stings the most for Avs fans, Pickard was claimed by the Golden Knights in the 2017 Expansion Draft. Pickard was a bright spot during a very dark season for the Avalanche. While his statline does not look great, it was refreshing to see Pickard be able to take on a starting role in a sink-or-swim situation when Semyon Varlamov went down with injury last season. At 25 years of age, Pickard was turning out to be a fan favorite. While not quite having star potential, he could steal a starting role on a bad team, while being a serviceable back up on a good team. He will back up Marc-Andre Fluery this season for Las Vegas.
Jeremy Smith is currently signed to the Carolina Hurricanes. Smith signed a one-year deal with the Avs last offseason. After Varlamov went down with injury, Smith backed up Pickard, winning 1 game while losing 6. The Avs decided to part ways with Smith and he was picked up by the Carolina Hurricanes as a free agent.
Fedor Tyutin is currently an Unrestricted Free Agent. Tyutin signed a one-year deal with the Avs in 2016. Brought in to provide a veteran presence and to mentor fellow Russian Nikita Zadorov, Tyutin seemed to bolster the Avs defense. He did not make it any worse, that’s for sure. He netted 1 goal and 12 assists while playing almost 19 minutes a night, which places him 6th among Avs defenseman. At only 33 years old, Tyutin could see himself providing depth to a KHL team or providing veteran presence to another young club, as he did with the Avs.
Patrick Wiercioch is currently signed to the Vancouver Canucks. Last offseason, Wiercioch returned to his Pioneer roots and signed to the Avs in a one-year deal. He started the year off great, netting 8 points in the first 17 games. While cooling off offensively, he struggled to impress defensively and shared a healthy scratch role with Eric Gelinas. He was not tendered a qualifying offer by the Avs and signed a one-year contract with his hometown Vancouver Canucks.
Who on this list was your favorite? Which departure are you most upset by?