The transactions have come thick and fast recently for the Colorado Avalanche, with players coming in as free agents and others departing. Yet as the team tries to regain the Stanley Cup, it needs to look for depth, experience, and long-term prospects in its roster. Below is a look at three of the team’s signings that could help:
Brad Hunt will bring a lot of experience to the Stanley Cup champions. He recently signed a $762,500 a season deal, which lasts for two years. This follows a move from his one-year contract with the Vancouver Canucks. He appeared in fifty games with them that racked up seventeen points on three goals and fourteen assists.
The player has had an illustrious career. After playing youth games, he rose to attention when playing for the Bemidji State Beavers. Despite a great run, he was undrafted out of college so attended a tryout with the AHL Chicago Wolves. He later signed for the Edmonton Oilers, following his Wolves coach Craig MacTavish. After some time playing for their affiliate team, the City Barons, he was called up when the main squad was hit with injuries.
This followed a period with St Louis Blues, where Brad Hunt came alight. Despite being exceptional, he was soon placed on Waiver and made his way to the Nashville Predators. He later signed to the Canucks for a one-year contract, then arrived at the Avalanche.
Not only does Hunt bring experience to the squad, but he bolsters the team’s blue line depth. The 33-year-old has signed as an undrafted free agent, though the terms of the contract are not disclosed. A look at online sports betting in Colorado tells us that the main bookmakers are holding Colorado up as the favorites this year, currently at +380. With stiff competition from the Florida Panthers and Toronto Maple Leafs at +850, his depth could be vital.
Anton Blidh is one of the most recent signings, coming to the team on a one-year contract. This Swede occupies a left-wing position and at age twenty-seven, he stands to add depth to the squad. There is a possibility that he may play for the Colorado Eagles and wait for his call-up when needed. His contract will be worth $750,000 at the NHL level and $350,00 at the AHL level.
Blidh’s career started in Sweden for the Frolunda youth team. He was soon drafted by the Boston Bruins in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft due to the promise he had shown in these games. He signed a three-year contract with the Bruins in 2015.
Playing for the Providence Bruins at first, he managed to rack up an impressive record of goals and assists. This soon led to him making an NHL debut. Since then, he continued with the squad for some time, showing solid ability throughout. In his last season with them, he hit a career record of thirty-two games and two goals.
Mikhail Maltsev is a young player with bags of potential. However, after a year of playing for the team, he has yet to fill the depth-line role waiting for him. In the last season, he played eighteen games but did not score a goal. Despite this, the team has renewed its faith in him with a one-year deal.
He came to the club the previous summer in an exchange with Ryan Graves of the New Jersey Devils. While playing for the Eagles, he has had seventeen goals and forty-eight points in fifty-six games. Yet when playing for the Avalanche, this did not transfer. His contract is a one-way deal worth $800,000. Could this be the season Maltsev steps up? With a one-way deal, the Avalanche seem to think so.