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.
Matt Nieto has been through it all since he joined Colorado as a waiver claim in January of 2017, jumping on board the sinking ship that was the 2016-17 Avalanche. Since then, he was a key part in the incredible comeback story that was the following season and has been a steady, dependable component of the fourth line in his three-and-a-half years in Denver.
The soft-spoken Nieto is now facing free agent status for his third time in as many seasons with the Avalanche. He’s most recently coming off of a two-year, $3.95-million deal, in which he earned just shy of $2 million each season.