Those Avs fans hoping the team might make a run at signing any of their unrestricted free agents, a group that includes Matt Nieto, Vladislav Namestnikov, Colin Wilson, Kevin Connauton and Michael Hutchinson: sorry about that.
All five players will not be given contract offers by the Avs by the start of the free-agency period, at 10 a.m. Friday, a source told Colorado Hockey Now.
This is not a big surprise, given how the Avs still have to sign several of their own restricted free agents. It is expected that the Avs will try to fill some of the departed’s roster spots with either free-agent signings from other teams, or from within by the start of the next season – which has a target date of Jan. 1.
Of the five players, Nieto had the most regular role with the team this past season. The 27-year-old left winger spent parts of four seasons with the Avs, playing 251 games overall with Colorado. He had eight goals and 21 points for Colorado in 70 games this season.
Namestnikov, acquired as a rental at the trade deadline, played pretty well for the Avs in his short time with them. He almost became a playoff hero in Game 7 against Dallas in the second round, scoring a goal with 3:40 left to break a 3-3 tie. But the Avs couldn’t hold the lead.
He scored four goals in 12 playoff games for Colorado, and figures to draw some good interest from around the league.
Wilson, 30, played only nine games for the team this season before injuries struck. His best season with the team was 2018-19, when he scored 12 goals and 27 points in 65 games, and played well at times in the playoffs that year.
Connauton spent most of this season in the minors, though he got some playing time in the postseason when injuries struck the defense. Hutchinson won two games for the Avs in the playoffs as a third goalie, before losing Game 7 to the Stars.