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Colorado Avalanche Sign Evan Rodrigues; An Early Scouting Report

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Evan Rodrigues Avalanche

You know those recent articles I wrote about how I thought the Colorado Avalanche would promote from within to get a new No. 2 center to replace Nazem Kadri and were done on the free agent market? Yeah, scatch those. Evan Rodrigues is your new No. 2 center (most likely anyway) of the Colorado Avalanche.

Rodrigues, who put up 19 goals and 43 points for the Pittsburgh Penguins last season, signed a one-year contract with the Avalanche this morning. The deal is worth $2 million. Rodrigues, who was an unrestricted free agent, is clearly betting on himself with a short-term, short-money deal.

Speculation that the Avalanche might sign the 29-year-old native of Toronto had cooled, which should have been our biggest clue that something would actually happen. Avalanche management kept this one quiet, leading to this surprise announcement. From the official team release:

The Colorado Avalanche Hockey Club announced today that the team has signed forward Evan Rodrigues to a one-year contract for the 2022-23 season.

Rodrigues, 29, set career highs in goals (19), assists (24) and points (43) this past season, playing in 82 games for the Pittsburgh Penguins. He was the only Penguins player to skate in every contest of the regular season, which was also a new career best for the 5-foot-11, 184-pound center. Rodrigues finished tied for fifth on the team in goals, tied for sixth in assists and finished the campaign ranked sixth in points. He recorded seven power-play goals, tied for fourth on the team. Rodrigues produced five points (3g/2a) in seven Stanley Cup Playoff contests, finishing tied for third in goals and pacing the Penguins with three power-play points.

“We are excited to add a two-way player with Evan’s versatility to our group,” said Avalanche General Manager Chris MacFarland. “He is coming off his best offensive season and has shown he can play in a variety of roles and help a lineup in many ways.”

Signed by the Buffalo Sabres as a free agent on April 22, 2015, Rodrigues has totaled 129 points (53g/76a) in 316 career NHL games with Buffalo and Pittsburgh. He has recorded six points (3g/3a) in nine total postseason contests.

The Toronto, Ontario, native played two-plus seasons with the Rochester Americans in the American Hockey League from 2015-18, notching 70 points (23g/47a) in 128 career games.

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Prior to turning pro, Rodrigues played four seasons of college hockey at Boston University, totaling 121 points (42g/79a) in 146 career NCAA contests. He served as an alternate captain in his senior campaign in 2014-15 and set career highs in goals (21), assists (40) and points (61) to help the Terriers to the 2015 Hockey East title and a berth in the 2015 NCAA National Championship Game. He led the team with three goals and four points during the NCAA Tournament. Rodrigues was named a Hockey East Second-Team All-Star in both his sophomore and senior years (2013 and 2015).

Click here to see all of career stats of Rodrigues.

Here is a scouting report from someone who saw every second Rodrigues played for the Penguins in all 82 games last season, Pittsburgh Hockey Now’s Dan Kingerski:

“Rodrigues finally broke free in 2021-22. When the Penguins were missing Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, Rodrigues performed admirably as a second-line center. He’s better defensively than casual observers realize, he’s got a heavy wrist shot and he knows how to distribute the puck. He got lost in the shuffle after the stars returned, but gathered his game for the final stretch and was one of their best players in the Round 1 loss to the New York Rangers. Rodrigues can play all three forward positions, and fill the the top-six or bottom-six roles. But he must feel important to the team or he can retreat. Oh, and watch the toe-drag and snapping wrister. It’s a beaut.”

Rodrigues played with most everyone on the Penguins last year, Kingerski reports. I fully expect he’ll be the No. 2 center here, or at least start the season that way and the coaches go from there.

Here’s every goal Rodrigues scored last year:

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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.

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idavsfan

AWESOME – Great move by the AVS – This will give Newhook another year to develop.

Aaron Rud

Astute observation. I agree.

Cal G

Wait..What? What a bargain and a steal!

Pete

Great signing. I am a Pens fan and I have no idea why we let this talented dude go.

Aaron Rud

I like the Pens as well. I wanted this signing for 2 months. I remember his penalty against Rangers in playoffs, but good pickup.

GWood

Bitchin’

Jared Moss

Smart move by this kid, how could you turn down playing on the second line of the Stanley cup Champs even for less money. Playing with these talented players if he runs with it easily hits 70 points, while Kadris numbers will dive. Let’s go avs!

Ted Grycel

Does have a nice shot, def is a goal scorer. How’s he on the forecheck?

Jim Strohmeier

Another great pickup for Avs. He finished 5th on Pens with 19G, which would’ve been 8th on the 2022 Stanley Cup Champions Colorado Avalanche, just one ahead of JT Compher (18G, 15A) – who just might challenge Rodrigues for the 2d line center position. Avs did lose Kadri (28G, 59A) and Burakovsky (22G, 39A), but this team is now a Cup winner and every player from that glorious victory now has a deeper understanding of what it takes to win the most coveted trophy in all of sports. That includes Head Coach Bednar, who is now in the history books… Read more »

Chris

There is a waiting list for season tickets.

Karl Keen

Solid signing. Hopefully he can add another 5 to 10 goals from last year’s tally.

Johann

I was hoping that Colorado would go after some depressed assets from another club again like they did with Val and Burky. Going for Hoglander or Lundkvist or Sandin. To help cheapen up some things. Also would love to see JJ Peterka as a target too because Buffalo really needs some defensive/power play help and would be a good fit for Girard.

dk

Chapeau, Sak-n-Mac. Wise move.

Charlie Anderson

Upon watching that goals video I feel even better about this guy. Those are not cheap or garbage goals. Those are key goals at important times for the Pens. There’s greasy goals. Beautiful one-timers on the PP. Fantastic moves to open lanes for sexy wristers. Nice backhand. Speed for breakaways and finish ability. Knows how to put it in an empty net. He scored on a breakaway against the Avs. How many guys did that last season? Not many. This guys got it all, going to look good on PP2 and on the Avs in general. Real good.

Last edited 21 days ago by Charlie Anderson
Doug Heinzer

Any idea why he was on the market so long considering his age, production and cap hit? That’s what has me scratching my head.

Justin Houde

The general consensus is, and if we can relate to the media, that he was hoping for a long term (3 yrs +) and more money. He also wanted to make sure he would have a chance to play on a team’s top six. Apparently 6 or 7 teams were interested but at the end they all had the same cap hit related problem. He also switched agent one day before free agency starts, which I guess reset all the talks that have been engaged between teams and his previous agent.

idavsfan

Last year was his breakout, prior to that the numbers aren’t really great – thinking he was asking for more than the GMs were willing to risk on what could turn out to be a flash in the pan.

This contract is a prove it type contract so he should be motivated, hopefully that equates to a good year for the Avs. Signing him also puts some pressure on JT to step up if he wants to fight for the 2C role.

JD16

Like it. And at this term and money it doesn’t become an obligations that he HAS to be the second line centre. If Newhook has a good camp or starts to outpace him in season, you can put Rodrigues down to the third line. Good pickup.

DevilDog53

My guess is that he will be ‘competing’ for second line center.

ricoflashback

Thank you, thank you, thank you. Super Joe strikes again. Just when you thought the Avs were going to roll the dice with Newhook at 2C or, heaven forbid, mess up Rantanen by moving him from wing position – – Joe Sakic strikes again. OK – maybe it was MacFarland’s move. But this has a pure Sakic feel to it. A solid, very underrated move. The one time the Penguins played the Avs in Denver last year, Rodrigues really stood out. An excellent two way player with a good shot. Gee, didn’t we sign someone like that before the playoffs… Read more »

Bob Neal

I knew there was hope of picking him up when AD said that there was significant interest in him from a bunch of teams and that the Avs were not one of them. Never think that one knows what Joe (or Chris) is working on. Yes, like everyone else a great pickup.

Catatafish

Didn’t want to see this but for that contract it can be great great. As long as he wasn’t promised the second line center role and then gets pissed if he can’t hold it. Because he might have taken less money to put up numbers for the next contract. Obviously we want to think he just wants to win the cup and will gladly play any role he’s given. Interesting in the hi-lite video how he plays three different positions up high on the power play. Will the Avs second pp unit build on that or do they want that… Read more »

Jared Moss

Very well can take kadris spot on the 1pp, those highlight goals looked nice

Catatafish

Kadri played in the middle not what Rodriquez is doing on these films

kimjongwil

Love the signing but why only one year?!

Richard Trujillo

This is a bit disappointing if he is supposed to be Kadri’s replacement. Kadri played a gritty, physical game often times doing a lot of dirty work in front of the net. This guy scores from the point on powerplays and off of the rush. We already have elite point men on the power play and good teams simply don’t give up a lot of odd man rushes. I don’t see how this guy fits in or where his production is going to come from. Is he going to fill the Tyson Jost role when the Avs weren’t big or… Read more »

Glendon Gulliver

I do not think that Rodrigues is Kadri’s replacement. There were very few players who could have replaced what he brought to the Avs. If the Avs had an extra 4-5 million, they could have gotten a Giroux or Trocheck. What the Avs got was one of the best UFA’s available who can play anywhere in the top 9. Maybe he should be labeled Burakovsky’s replacement, as he can play RW, which the Avs do not have a lot of players who naturally play that position. The Avs now have 3 people vying for the 2C spot, 4 if you… Read more »

Glendon Gulliver

Oops, I forgot about Nichushkin being on the PP. If he plays on the 1PP with Landeskog, MacKinnon, and Rantanen, then Rodrigues brings added scoring to run the 2PP. If Rodrigues slots into the 1PP, then you have Nichushkin and Lehkonen to play with either Compher or Newhook on the 2PP.

Justin Houde

If you want Kadri, you have to pay him 7 millions instead of 2 millions and you have to dign him until he is 38 yrs old. Of course if you expect Evan to replace kadri you are going to be disappointed. But Avs just could not afford Kadri like the Bolts could not afford to keep Palat, the panthers could not keep Giroux, Weegar and Chiarot. I’m confident we will ba all happy with what Rodrigues bring for he costs to the team. I would have preferred a two years deal, but I think Evan wants to bet on… Read more »

Trenton Dunn

Going to be a great RW when Meyers takes over 2C

John Mauss

Hope you are right on Meyers. We’ll see…

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