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.
Seemingly out of nowhere, Ryan Graves emerged as a capable top-pair defenseman for the Avs this season. Originally intended to be a depth D-man for the Colorado Eagles and Avs system, Graves was acquired from the New York Rangers in February of 2018 in exchange for Chris Bigras, who hasn’t touched NHL ice in two years. Point advantage: Joe Sakic.
Graves found great chemistry with rookie defenseman Cale Makar, as the two youngsters took the league by storm this season. Now, coming off a very modest one-year, $735,000 contract, Graves and his agent will certainly be asking for a bit of a raise this offseason, and he’ll most certainly get one.