With the Avalanche season officially drawn to a close, it’s time to turn our attention to what is sure to be an interesting offseason. According to CapFriendly, the 2020-21 Avs squad has 14 members currently signed on next season, leaving some decisions for GM Joe Sakic to make on some of his uncontracted players. With an estimated cap hit of roughly $59.1 million for next season’s Avalanche, and with the NHL salary capped at $81.5 million, Sakic and Co. have roughly $22.4 million to work with…with plenty of work to do.
Colorado Hockey Now will work its way down that list of a few of the unsigned Avalanche and make a case for and against re-signing the prospective free agents, providing stats, analytical insights and opinions on the matter ahead of the opening of the NHL’s free agency period beginning on Oct. 9.
Depth scoring is placed at a premium in this league, and rightfully so. Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic has done everything and some to try and rebuild and re-tool the organization’s depth, whether it’s for his 23-man active roster or the farm depth down in Loveland with the Colorado Eagles. He’s had some decent success at doing so. Most recently, Corey Pronmon of The Athletic ranked the Avalanche’s organizational depth in the top-10 for the second straight year.
One of those important depth moves Sakic made last offseason was acquiring Andre Burakovsky from the Washington Capitals. That was a big move on Sakic’s part. The Avs GM doesn’t often trade high draft picks, for the aforementioned reason of wanting to build up his system’s depth. So by moving his second and third-round picks in this year’s upcoming draft to acquire Burakovsky last summer, and then signing him to a one-year, $3.25M prove-it deal, it was a win-now move by Sakic and the Avalanche front office. It also showed some confidence that he likes where his organization’s depth is at by his willingness to depart from two high draft picks.
Obviously, the win-now will have to be win-next-season, but the question becomes whether or not the pending RFA-to-be Burakovsky will be a part of those plans?