Connect with us

Avalanche offseason

Is Joe Sakic at “take it or leave it” mode with Landeskog and Grubauer? Sounds like it



Joe Sakic

First off, Joe Sakic is a disciple of the late, great Pierre Lacroix. He doesn’t leak stuff to the media and he hates it when others do. He’s also a guy I nicknamed “Quoteless Joe” way back in the day. Nicest guy ever, accountable to the media as a player but…yeah, not a lot of meat on them bones, quote-wise, when you were done chatting with him.

So, when he talked with us media schlubs last night, there certainly wasn’t much in the way of excitable quote material when it came to the situations regarding unsigned, potential unrestricted free agents Gabe Landeskog and Philipp Grubauer.

After discussing the six-year, $54 million new contract to franchise defenseman Cale Makar, it wasn’t long before Sakic was asked about the situation with the captain, Landeskog, and No. 1 goalie, Grubauer.

“We’re hopeful we can come to terms as well, have them sign with us as well. But I won’t comment on the negotiations. They’re still going on,” Sakic said.

That, at least on the surface, would seem like the good news coming out of that quote. The talks are still going on, he said.

But…Sakic also said this: “They’re both unrestricted free agents, so I’m assuming they’ll both look at where they are in the marketplace and they have to make that decision.”

That, at least to me, translates as: “Our offers probably aren’t going to change much from where they are now, four days before the start of free agency. They’ll have to decide if that’s good enough, or look elsewhere.”

Keep in mind: the Avs aren’t going to gain any room under the cap if they both leave. They don’t have contracts for next season. According to PuckPedia, the Avs have about $17.1 million in cap space right now, with five key guys from last season’s team unsigned: Landeskog, Grubauer, Brandon Saad, Tyson Jost and Conor Timmins. (I’m not including P.E. Bellemare here, because he’s leaving as a UFA for sure).

$20 Dollar Bonus Voucher!

If Landeskog and Grubauer both want top-of-the-market money, I’ve got to believe that means they want $8 million and $6 million per year, respectively. That certainly doesn’t leave much left over for the other guys – though keep in mind this important proviso, that teams can spend to 10% over the cap in the offseason. They just have to get down to the cap by opening night.

The fact that Sakic said “they have to make that decision”, again, translates to me that he’s probably made his best offer by now. Maybe – maybe – he’ll come up a little. He did that before with Mikko Rantanen and his situation that got contentious for a while. But, generally, once Sakic makes up his mind on something, that’s that.

I’ve said this before, though, and say it again: Sakic darn well better have a good backup plan if he loses a quality power forward who has scored 20 or more goals in eight of his 10 years with the Avs, not to mention his captain, and his team’s No. 1 goalie.

That’s why I remain something of an optimist that they’ll both be back. But it certainly isn’t overconfidence. At all.

Sakic also was asked, if both players hit the open market on Wednesday, does that mean they’re gone?

“Not necessarily. We’ll see how that turns out. There’s been a lot of players that have tested the market and then come back to their teams. So, we’ll see where that goes. Time will tell,” he said.

Yes it will.

Subscribe to CHN+ today!

Adrian Dater - Kiss and Larry Bird fan. Writer with @Gambling and @Bookies, Avs Insider with 104.3 The Fan. Denver Post, SI, Bleacher Report alum, author of seven books.

Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

I interpret that optimistically, but as in “not going to overpay” and “not going to get tied up for longer term than is sensible” … so still possibility of going with Frankie, maybe enticing Landy with a little more, and getting another player in to improve the roster, given the non-offset losses of Graves, Donskoi, et al.


Is Grub really going to be a hot commodity on the market? I know it only takes one team but big contract FA signings never seem to work out for anyone long term.

Richard Trujillo

This is why the time to make a big splash in free agency to get them over the hump was 2-3 years ago. Avalanche fans all over the internet argued against that for seemingly no good reason.

Now, they never got over that hump and they have to start dismantling their roster. This is exactly what happened with the O’Reilly, Stastny, Duchene, Barrie core. I tried to tell everyone this was coming.


Agreed – some Avs fans (and among fanbases they are far from unique) seem to reason as McClellan did on the Peninsula…that’s why I don’t see the reason in resigning Grubauer when to achieve the objective of winning a Cup the roster needs to be improved…Frankie gives you a chance to economically address goaltending while retaining purchasing power to acquire needed improvements for a now depleted roster…losing Graves, Donskoi, et al, and resigning Landy and Grubauer results in…a lesser roster than the one that went out in the second round again…if Sakic makes those moves, then as you have explained,… Read more »

Richard Trujillo

I think talent wise they aren’t too far away. It has been well discussed here what their shortcomings are in that area.

One thing I think is sorely missed is that high end veteran presence in the locker room. Guys like Claude Lemieux, Mike Keane, and Patrick Roy (though he is a unique player I think we can all agree) helped show that young core what it took to win a championship. They refused to acquire those guys during their last two rebuilds for some reason.


Agreed – on this site I repeatedly argued in favor of acquiring Pietrangelo all the way back to mid-season of the Blues’ Cup run when they were on the verge of holding a fire sale … those veteran players are part of the toughness/grit facet that seems to have been lacking…that aspect is usually an up/down roster factor, so losing the vets they have lost and the hope of improvement solely through the pipeline strikes me as naive at best…but as said above, hopefully Sakic and others who urge that approach will have the last laugh over those of us… Read more »


High-end veterans typically come with high-end contracts. Not sure how we’d be able to acquire such players in the salary cap era. I mean you can get a guy like Marleau or Perry on a modest contract, but anyone like the Staal brothers or even someone like Pavelski will come with a significant cap hit.

Richard Trujillo

They had plenty of cap room a few years ago to make these big moves.

People said, “if they make these moves they won’t be able to sign their own guys”. Well, they aren’t going to be able to sign their own guys anyway and they never got the payoff of a Stanley Cup. And no, this isn’t hindsight. Guys like me were describing this exact situation three years ago. It is literally exactly what happened with their previous rebuild.

Bob Neal

I’m trying to figure out how McClellans movements on the Peninsula Campaign relates to the Avs dilemma? Indecision costs the cup? Frankie has never proven he can stay healthy and his size is contrary to the current philosophy of finding a quick moving walrus that can fill the net (i.e. Geico commercial). Inadequate goaltending will never win a cup. Richards comments seem pretty sage in that we may have missed the boat. Having $20 million tied up in two people doesn’t leave much money to go around.


It seems to me there are 2 different conversations going on here. Landeskog clearly wants a contract that has loyalty written all over it. I’d be inclined to give him the 7 or 8 years he’s asking for, provided he recognizes that a 35 yo Landy just isn’t going to command the type of salary he gets now. With Grubauer, I suspect he’s more interested in testing his market value. In either case, you’d think their overall calculus also considers the likelihood of winning the cup in the next 3 to 5 years. The fact that they haven’t won anything… Read more »

[…] Sakic himself said the other day, time will tell. I don’t believe the talks are dead. Just, not going anywhere at the […]


Welcome back – Frankie, Sammy and the crew. No Landeskog, Saad, Graves, Donskoi or Grubauer. Stanley Cup favorite when the dust settles?

Colorado's premier coverage of the Avalanche from professional hockey people. Adrian Dater, Editor-in-Chief. Part of the National Hockey Now family.

This site is in no way associated with the Colorado Avalanche or the NHL. Copyright © 2019 National Hockey Now and Adrian Dater.