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Dater’s take: Why the new Ryan Graves deal is a home run for the Avs



Avalanche d-man ryan graves

Good news for Ryan Graves today. The likable kid from Nova Scotia, who came out of nowhere to have a great season for the Avs, leading the NHL in plus-minus, signed a new three-year contract with the Avs, GM Joe Sakic announced.

The deal, which was actually agreed to Sunday night, breaks down like this, according to PuckPedia: Year 1 $2.5 million, $3 million in Year 2 and $4 million in Year 3, for a total cap hit of $3.16 million.

The contract thus avoids arbitration between the Avs and Graves. I think it’s a great deal for Graves, but also the Avs too. I truly think Graves will get even better moving forward, and a $3.16 million cap hit for the next three years, for a top-2 defenseman (which is what Graves was/is) is good economics for a team facing a flat salary cap for perhaps the next three years.

I don’t understand the critics who said Graves had a bad playoffs, by the way. First off, he had to play more minutes after Erik Johnson went down in the second round. He still was a plus-9 in 15 playoff games, with 29 hits and 37 blocked shots. Yeah, he had a couple of turnovers and his puck-possession numbers weren’t out of this world.

But I’ve seen enough of him to firmly believe he’ll be a strong, steady D-man for the next three years and, as I said, get better. I’d like to see him step up and be more physical, especially with the loss now of Zadorov. I think he will.

Let’s not forget about his nine goals and 26 points last year either. That’s pretty good for a D-man.

I asked Joe Sakic today, by the way, his thoughts on Tyson Jost staying with the team and it sounds like a fait accompli. Sakic, in fact, said he’s working toward a new two-year deal for Jost.

My thoughts on that: It’s probably too soon to give up on the kid. Here’s the thing: I just don’t see him being more than a fourth-line player right now in this lineup. How is that going to boost his confidence any? How is that going to boost his point total?

I still think there’s a chance he might be traded, but overall it sounds like No. 17 will still stick around a while.

A few other things from Sakic’s virtual presser:

  • Even though Vladislav Kamenev was given a qualifying offer, he won’t count against the Avs’ salary cap right now. That’s because he’s playing in the KHL right now. Only if he wants to come back to the NHL – and actually signs his qualifying offer once the red tape with his KHL club is cleared – would he count against the cap.
  • Sakic said he’d prefer to get captain Gabe Landeskog signed to an extension before his final year of his deal runs out, but if things go all the way until the next off-season, so be it. Landeskog, though, could become an unrestricted free agent after this coming season.
  • Sakic said he initiated talks with Landeskog’s agent, Mark Wallen, during the playoffs.
  • Sakic indicated he will still look around for another defenseman for the top six, but if he can’t find one, Conor Timmins and/or Bo Byram could be that guy. But he doesn’t want to rush either of them if they’re not ready, he said.

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