It has been less than 24 hours since the offseason began for the Colorado Avalanche, but GM Joe Sakic has already made an important announcement. During his press conference this afternoon, Sakic mentioned that the team has given head coach Jared Bednar a one-year contract extension. This move gives the coach a second-year on his agreement so that he will not go into next season on a lame-duck contract.
After coaching the Lake Erie Monsters to a Calder Cup championship, Bednar took over for Patrick Roy late in the summer of 2016. His first year as an NHL head coach is one he would probably like to forget. The Avalanche went on to have an historically bad season with a record of 22-56-4, finishing dead last in the league. The fault should not have been on Bednar as he was put into the unenviable position of taking over a team very late in the offseason. He was given no time to instill his philosophy and system on the team - there were a lot of growing pains as a result.
A year later, Bednar led the Avs to one of the best turnarounds in recent memory. This year’s team finished with record of 43-30-9. Not only did they exceed everyone’s expectations, but the Avalanche were able to make the playoffs and push the Presidents’ Trophy winning Nashville Predators to the limit in the first round.
Jared Bednar is the perfect leader for this team. He is a very strong player development coach - something that is vital for a team as young as the Avs. He also has a calmness about him that helps on a bench (and in a locker room) filled with young players.
The extension is a worthy reward for a great season and we shouldn’t be surprised if we hear Bednar’s name when the nominees for the Jack Adams Award are announced later this week.