Kukla's Korner Hockey
DENVER – The Colorado Avalanche Hockey Club announced today that the team has signed forward Nathan MacKinnon to a seven-year contract through the 2022-23 season.
MacKinnon, 20, is entering his fourth NHL campaign in 2016-17. He finished third on the Avalanche in scoring this past season with 52 points (21 goals, 31 assists) in 72 games. The 6-foot, 195-pound center led the team in shots (245) and shared the club lead in game-winning goals (6).
“Signing Nathan to a long-term contract was a priority this offseason,” said Avalanche Executive Vice President/General Manager Joe Sakic. “He is going to be a key part of our team for many years to come and it was important to secure his rights moving forward.”
from Terry Frei of the Denver Post,
In the getting-the-band-back-together era here, perhaps some of this goes back to remembering when the Avs were a destination franchise and re-signing prospective unrestricted free agents — at least the ones the Avs wanted to re-sign — was a virtual given. (This isn’t parallel, but a cash-starved Avalanche-Nuggets ownership even found a way to match the New York Rangers’ three-year, front-loaded, $21-million offer sheet to a restricted free agent superstar named Sakic in 1997.) Yes, that all was before the 2004-05 lockout and subsequent implementation of the salary cap changed everything and led to the departures of Peter Forsberg and Adam Foote.
So I’ll concede it’s unfair to go too far back in judging these moves.
But it comes back to this: Especially given the way the Avalanche folded down the stretch, Colorado still is staking an enormous amount of faith in the “core” to make this a better team, largely through natural progression. A Semyon Varlamov return to consistently elite status would be a great start, but the buck (or puck) doesn’t stop there. Has this “core” earned that much trust? No. Not yet.
from Mike Chambers of the Denver Post,
The Avalanche will buy out veteran defenseman Brad Stuart and not replace him or recently traded defenseman Nick Holden with marquee free agent defensemen, general manager Joe Sakic said Monday.
Because of Stuart’s age, 36, his buyout won’t provide salary-cap relief, leaving $3.6 million on the books. But the Avs will save $1.2 million in cash, according to GeneralFanager.com...
Before trading Holden to the New York Rangers on Saturday, Sakic said the Avs won’t make a big splash when free agency begins, and he said that remains the plan after informing Stuart that he will not be with the team next season.
Sakic reiterated his plan to give increased ice time to 21-year-old defensemen Nikita Zadorov and Chris Bigras and offer 2011 first-round draft pick Duncan Siemens “every opportunity to try and make this team.” In addition, the Avs have high hopes for defenseman Eric Gelinas, who was acquired from New Jersey in March.
read on including a contract staus on Nathan MacKinnon...
NEW YORK, June 25, 2016 – New York Rangers General Manager Jeff Gorton announced today that the team has acquired defenseman Nick Holden from the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for their own fourth round pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.
Holden, 29, skated in 82 games with Colorado this past season, registering six goals and 16 assists for 22 points, along with 24 penalty minutes. He established career-highs in several categories in 2015-16, including games played, assists, average ice time (21:52), hits (217), and blocked shots (118). Holden ranked second on Colorado – and led Avalanche defensemen – in hits, ranked third in average shorthanded ice time (2:20) and blocked shots (118), and ranked fourth in average ice time this past season. In addition, he was one of five players on Colorado – and one of two Avalanche defensemen – who skated in all of the team’s 82 games in 2015-16.
The 6-4, 210-pounder has skated in 221 career NHL games over parts of five seasons (2010-11; 2012-13 – 2015-16) with Columbus and Colorado, registering 21 goals and 40 assists for 61 points, along with a plus-one rating and 74 penalty minutes. Holden established career-highs in goals (10), assists (15), points (25), and plus/minus rating (plus-12) in 2013-14. In his three seasons with the Avalanche (2013-14 – 2015-16), he led Colorado defensemen in hits (491), and he ranked third among Colorado defensemen in goals (21), assists (40), and points (61).
The St. Albert, Alberta, native was originally signed by Columbus as an undrafted free agent on March 28, 2008.
added 3:01pm, Florida release is below...
“We’re not going to be looking that day. As the summer goes on, we’ll see what good fits are. But on the July 1, don’t expect us to go after any big long-term deals. Within our own, we’re going to discuss what we have within, but outside on July 1 we’re not going to go after a big splash.”
-Joe Sakic, GM of the Colorado Avalanche. More from Sakic by Mike Chambers of the Denver Post.
from Mike Chambers of the Denver Post,
In an exclusive interview Thursday, Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic swept away rumors that young defenseman Tyson Barrie will be traded and discussed a handful of other issues including Nathan MacKinnon’s pending contract extension and next week’s NHL draft in Buffalo....
“I’d like to do a long-term deal with Tyson. If that doesn’t work out, it’s expected he’ll go to arbitration,” Sakic said. “Either way, he’ll be here.”
Barrie was Colorado’s fifth-leading scorer last season with 49 points (13 goals) in 78 games. Among all NHL defensemen, he was 13th in scoring.
MacKinnon, 20, is also a restricted free agent, but coming off his three-year, entry-level contract. Sakic said the No. 1 selection in the 2013 draft will be signed by training camp in September but isn’t sure if it will be a long-term deal with unrestricted free agency at the end of it or a bridge deal taking him to another RFA situation.
"... Sometimes you want to go fast track, but that would be the wrong thing to do. The problem is we got 112 points the first year and that's where everybody thought we made the turn. But let's not forget that the year before, we were second-to-last overall. There's a reality between that year and what's going on.
"Last year, 90 points. This year, less points. Obviously, it's not something we're proud of, not something we're happy about. I am very frustrated about it, but at the time time, I think we need to find ways to make this franchise better and it's not just for one year. It's for a longer term, and that's what we want."
-Patrick Roy, head coach of the Colorado Avalanche. More from Roy by Terry Frei of the Denver Post.
Roy needs to prove to everybody that he is capable of leading that team. Until he does, the Avs will serve as an unhappy reminder that the regular season really does matter in the NHL.
Denver fans would love to have the STL’s playoff worries today.
-Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch where you can read more on the Avs.
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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