Monday morning, the Colorado Avalanche that they have re-signed 24-year old defender Ryan Graves. The two sides agreed to a one year, two-way contract that will help avoid arbitration. The contract is worth $735k in the NHL, $350k at that NHL level. Acquired in a trade from the New York Rangers in February 2018, Graves has registered three goals and two assists through 26 games as an injury fill-in with the Avalanche last season.
With Graves back in the fold, the Avalanche currently have nine defenders under contract. With Ian Cole and Erik Johnson unlikely to be healthy for the start of the season, Graves will spend training camp battling with Kevin Connauton and Calle Rosen for a spot in the lineup on opening night.
Graves is no longer waiver exempt so his chances of sticking around the NHL are likely higher than Rosen’s who can be sent down at any time without needing to clear waivers.
In his short NHL career, Graves has shown the ability to be a dependable 6th defender and given his size, head coach Jared Bednar might look to him as a more mobile replacement for Patrik Nameth this season.
The signing leaves J.T. Compher and Sheldon Dries as the two remaining possibilities for arbitration this summer.