Free agency opens up Saturday afternoon, and apparently there’s one specific thing the Colorado Avalanche are looking to do.
In an interview with NHL.com, Joe Sakic didn’t exactly hide what they’ll be looking for when free agency opens up.
“We feel we’d like to get a little grittier. We’ll see what we can do July 1 as well, just to kind of help our group out,” Sakic told NHL.com.
While the acquisition of Ryan Johansen can’t really be seen as a move to add grit to the lineup (although he’s not afraid to stir it up), the other moves they made certainly can be.
While Newhook and Colton produced similar numbers, they are nothing alike when it comes to style of play. Newhook is a smaller, skilled forward, while Colton plays much bigger than the size he’s listed at. He led all Tampa Bay Lightning forwards in hits last year with 188.
For comparisons sake, the Avalanche forward with the most hits was Logan O’Connor at 121. Hits can be a flawed stat, as what is considered a “hit” varies from arena to arena, but you get the picture. The transition into a grittier team has already begun.
So when you’re looking at free agents that might make sense for Colorado, keep this in mind. They still have a need in the top six to add some skill, but the bottom six was incredibly small last year, so it makes sense that they might want to get a little tougher. In addition, they need to replace Erik Johnson, who was one of the more physical players on the team.
In addition to that comment, Sakic talked about the moves they’ve already made, the struggles for the team to stay healthy last year, and the competitive nature of the core. I would recommend giving the entire interview a read here.