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Andre Burakovsky signs 5-year contract with the Seattle Kraken

The talented winger was likely to leave the Avalanche given his contract demands, and he will join some familiar faces in Seattle.

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Tampa Bay Lightning at Colorado Avalanche Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Given the harsh realities of the flat salary cap era, the Colorado Avalanche were never going to be able to re-sign everyone from their Stanley Cup-winning team, with Andre Burakovsky looking like the likeliest candidate to sign for big money elsewhere. That big money arrived today from the Seattle Kraken, as they signed Burakovsky to a 5-year deal worth an average annual value of $5.5 million.

Burakovsky was one of the poster children for Joe Sakic’s ascent to being the NHL’s GM who scouts other teams better than they scout themselves, as he identified the former first-round pick as a perfect candidate to promote into a larger role than he currently had. Burakovsky was good in Washington and scored some big playoff goals, but he blossomed into a borderline top-line forward after Colorado traded second and third-round picks in the 2020 NHL draft and forward Scott Kosmachuk to Washington for a streaky player who was languishing in their bottom six forward group.

Sakic was right as Burakovsky scored 62 goals in 328 games for the Capitals, then 61 goals in 191 games for the Avalanche, earning a big contract that pays him like a first-line winger. Burakovsky scored some massive goals in Colorado as well, none more important than the overtime winner in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final against Tampa Bay.

Andre Burakovsky was always the likeliest candidate to leave given how big of a contract he had earned along with his injury history in Colorado (he played more than 58 games just once in three years)—combined with the cap crunch the Avalanche are facing. With extensions for key wingers like Valeri Nichushkin and Artturi Lehkonen on the books, there was virtually no way that the Avalanche would have been able to retain Burakovsky at fair market value, and he will now join former Avalanche players Philipp Grubauer and Joonas Donskoi on a brand-new Seattle team looking to establish an NHL identity.