The Colorado Avalanche finished five points out of the post-season in 2015-16, but even considering their narrow playoff miss, there are obvious issues on the blueline and a lack of depth at forward.
Even with the problems facing the Avalanche, though, GM Joe Sakic says there’s not going to be a big fix coming to Colorado when free agency opens. Sakic told The Denver Post’s Mike Chambers that the Avalanche don’t have designs on being active in the free agent market when it opens July 1, choosing instead to be patient and look for additions later in the off-season.
“We’re not going to be looking that day,” Sakic told Chambers. “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.”
Sakic’s approach to free agency may mean Colorado isn’t landing a big name in free agency, but that might be the right amount action — or inaction — for the Avalanche considering Colorado doesn’t project to be a true contender within the next few seasons. The Avalanche will need to retool in the off-season, though, so how Sakic plans to accomplish that remains to be seen.
Heading into the off-season, the Avalanche have only seven forwards under contract, though three restricted free agents who are all but certain to be locked up ahead of the season. Among those is Nathan MacKinnon, who will be in line for a big raise following the second 20-goal season of his three-year career.
Sakic’s announcement of the Avalanche’s free agency plan sounds as though he’s trying to go the cost-effective route. That seems even more certain considering Sakic has also made clear that Colorado doesn’t plan to re-sign either Mikkel Boedker or Shawn Matthias, two pending unrestricted free agents who will instead test the free agent market. Sakic doesn't plan to be entirely inactive in the off-season, however. He said there is still the option to add through trade, though Sakic told Chambers that he didn’t want to comment on rumors or speculation about who the Avalanche may be looking to add, namely Winnipeg Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba.
“There’s a lot of speculation out there,” Sakic told Chambers. “All I can tell you is we’ve had conversations with different teams and we want to try to improve our crop.”