Colorado Avalanche General Manager Chris MacFarland has mentioned on multiple occasions about getting his team to be grittier. His moves seem to have done so, bringing in Ross Colton and Miles Wood for the middle six.
However, the fourth line doesn’t have the same grit it used to with the loss of Darren Helm to retirement and Logan O’Connor most likely playing on the third line. The current line consists of some combination of Ben Meyers, Frederik Olofsson, Andrew Cogliano, and Chris Wagner.
So how about Zach Aston-Reese coming on a cheap deal to the Avs? JFresh initially pointed out his availability, with DNVR’s Meghan Angley commenting on his availability to join the team.
The 29-year-old spent last season with the Toronto Maple Leafs, actually managing a career-high in scoring with 10 goals and recording four assists in a career-high 77 games in a season. Formerly of the Anaheim Ducks and Pittsburgh Penguins, Aston-Reese is looking for a new home and Colorado could be a good option.
Another competitive team for him might get his scoring back up, something the Avs desperately need in depth. This is also something in question for Aston-Reese: can he provide the depth scoring this team is missing? It just might be the biggest flaw in his game which could drive the Avs away from him but he can battle in down low and tip pucks in.
However, he does match the gritty attitude MacFarland wants on his side. Just last year, he threw 163 hits, blocked 43 shots, and also managed 18 takeaways in an average of just under 11 minutes on ice a night. He also can jump in on faceoffs when needed, going an even 50 percent last season.
Finally, he can come at a cheap price. His last contract was a one-year deal with the aforementioned Leafs at $840K. The Avs still have about $2 million left in cap space thanks to Gabriel Landeskog’s LTIR status which they could use here or save just in case they need to acquire someone at the trade deadline. If they make a move now, this may be the time and person to move for as Avs fans' first pick Pius Suter is now off the market with the Vancouver Canucks.
For such a low price, it seems like a low-risk, high-reward sort of deal for Colorado if they were to acquire him off the market. They can rotate him around with the names mentioned earlier on the fourth line to find the right combination of grittiness and depth scoring. He seems like a Colorado signing waiting to happen, but could it all work out in the end financially and on the ice? Let us know in the comments below!