(Edit: It was not quite year 2120 just yet)
As to pretend that the 8-3 blowout loss to Minnesota did not happen I am going to take a look at the upcoming resignings and what to expect from the contracts and salaries and where it takes the Avalanches’ cap space for the UFA market.
For the sake of this article I am going to assume that Ryan Graves is the player lost to Seattle Kraken in the expansion draft. I think that is the most likely scenario even tho I myself wrote a piece here like two months ago saying that we can afford to lose Toews. I just don’t think that Sakic acquired Toews just to let him go to Seattle after a season. I would assume Erik Johnson to waive his NMC to be exposed as he should also expect that he is not going to Seattle even if they had a Chance to pick him. Veteran players with over paid contrats and long term injury for this season are not the most sought after players. Which is good for the Avs as he provides proper leadirship and mentoring role and seems to be respected in the locker room.
Taking a look at expiring contracts of NHL mainstays. All information from Capfriendly.com.
Notable UFA at goalie position is the starter Philip Grubauer. He has had a Vezina caliber of a season. Still he has not had a long track record of starting duties as this is just a second season as a starter for him and last sesason he was good, but not this good. That is why I expect to get paid properly, but not the top dollars and not with such a long contract. Connor Hellebuyk of the Winnipeg Jets is a good reference to what to expect for the new contract given to Grubauer. I could estimate Grubauer getting 4 years at $6M cap.
Like in goal, there is one notable expiring contract and he will be a happy young man next summer when walking into a bank. Cale Makar technically in his second season in the NHL and already in the discussion for the Norris trophy after just winning the Calder trophy. This is a difficult contract to estimate as he is a young player with only two seasons of NHL hockey behind him, but he has already shown that he is among the best in the game. Thomas Chabot from the Ottawa Senators is a valid option for a reference with his $8M cap, but honestl Erik Karlsson, the former Senator and current San Jose Shark and the highest paying defenseman in the NHL, with the cap hit of $11.5M can also be used as a reference. I can not see Avs topping that chart tho, at least yet, but Makar surely will get more than Chabot. I would estimate that the contract will be something in the likes of $9.5M per for 5 years. I can not see Sakic giving much more money with such a little experience, but considering the skills Makar has shown on the ice, he could get some more.
In forward group there are five contracts coming to their end. Gabriel Landeskog, Brandon Saad, Matt Calvert and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare as UFA and Tyson Jost as RFA. If I have checked everything correctly, Avs should have around $13M in cap space remaining for the rest of forwards. Tho I do not know how all the contracts count against the cap, so I summed from cap friendly at 2021-2022 chart the defencemen, forwards and long term injured players counting towards the salary. Then added the new hypothesized contracts of Grubauer and Makar while substracting Graves’ contract. The most importanto ne is Landeskog, the captain. For the past few seasons Landeskog averages a bit less than a point per game. Tho that is while playing in "maybe the best line in hockey" with Rantanen and Mackinnon. That kind of firepower easily inflates ones offensive stats. Still, a nice addition to his CV. Additionally he is solid 2 way player, unlike Rantanen for example, and provides excellent leadership. I see him at $8.5M per next 5 seasons. Now with approximately $5M left I would get Jost sign his contract. It won’t be much as he is struggling to get the points. That might change though before he will be offered a new contract as he seems to fit in between wingers Donskoi and Nichushkin. Still I see him at aroun $1M for the next two seasons (Fun fact: I signed Tyson Jost for $3.7M for eight years in NHL 20 and he ended up in his best season to be a 91 ovr player). $4M left the one to approach is Matt Calvert. The soul of the bottom 6 forward group. He is not one to put many points on the board, but it would be a shame to see him walk away. A true energy player and excellent penalty killer. He has battled through some injuries, which will be a point to consider in his signing. I could see him as $2M for the next two sesasons. The remaining $2M would go to depth guys and some room for movement. This would mean that Saad and Bellemare would be left out of work in Denver as there is no room for their contracts.
I could see Avs making some more room to make a bit more room to play with, but at the current situation this is something how I see things could go. Will be interesting to see how much I am off with this lottery of a prediction.
I tried adding a poll about who you think will get a higher cap hit, Landy or Makar, but the site disagreed with my attempt.
Thanks for reading.