The Bowen Byram contract extension is going to be a fascinating one for the Colorado Avalanche this summer. The talented young defenseman will be a restricted free agent once his entry-level deal expires this summer.
Speaking on the 32 Thoughts podcast, NHL Insider Elliotte Friedman offered a small nugget of information on what he believes has gone down so far. It’s not much, but it’s something worth passing along.
“I think they’ve tried to sign Byram before,” Friedman said.
By before, he means in the past year. As of July 1 last summer, Byram has been eligible to sign a contract extension that would kick in for the 2023-24 season.
“To me, the big question is – what is Byram’s number going to be?” Friedman said. “Because I think they’ve tried to sign him. Colorado is proactive about this stuff. They try to get guys done. So what that says to me is, so far, they haven’t been able to find a number that fits. That, to me, is the big one. How do you get a deal done with Byram? And then where are you going from there?”
None of this should really be that surprising. Like Friedman said, the Avalanche try to get in front of these things. They didn’t let MacKinnon start training camp without a new contract in place, and they’ve done it before with other players. Sam Girard, for example, signed his contract extension well before his entry-level deal was up. I’m sure the Avalanche would like to get this done as soon as possible to know how much cap space they have to work with.
This contract will be a really interesting one, and like I said before, we’ll be digging into it soon. Byram is an x-factor on the Avalanche. He’s got a little bit of everything. He can skate, he can defend, he’s a difference maker in the transition game, and he’s got a ton of swagger. However, as good as he has been, the most games he’s played in a regular season is 42. An extension with term has some risk just because of that. When he’s healthy, everyone can see he’s really good, but he just hasn’t been able to stay healthy over the course of a full season.
On the flip side, if you’re Byram, do you want to lock yourself into a long-term deal for the security, or do you take a chance on yourself staying healthy and breaking out on a short deal, and then signing for more later on? That’s what makes this negotiation so interesting.
Stay tuned to CHN for any more updates. This isn’t a big one, but things are quiet right now, so it was worth mentioning.