Connect with us

Colorado Avalanche

Avalanche Mailbag: PTO’s, Colton’s Contract, Under-hyped/Over-hyped Moves



Avalanche johansen nhl trade

Colorado Avalanche hockey is nearly here. I saw it for myself today, as I stopped by Family Sports to take a peak at the players skating. There’s only a few, including Ryan Johansen, but we’re getting closer every day. It felt good to hear the sounds of hockey again.

After Labor Day Weekend, more players will start trickling in, and before you know it, training camp will start.

So with that in mind, we’re doing one more mailbag before we get to real hockey. There’s only so much to talk about at the end of August, but there was enough on everyone’s minds to put another one of these together.

So let’s see what questions everyone had.

From Random Avs Goal Every Day: Do you think the Ross Colton contract was overpay? 

I would call it a slight overpay, but nothing egregious. The Avalanche bought three UFA years on the deal, so that played a role in it being a little pricier than I expected. I’m sure the J.T. Compher and Andrew Copp deals also had something to do with it. If you’re in Colton’s camp, all you had to tell the Avalanche was “we’ll take a one-year deal and see what he can get on the open market.” The Avalanche wouldn’t have wanted that at all.

That being said, Colton has a chance to outperform that contract pretty easily. He’s going to move around the lineup a fair bit, and be used in a lot of different situations. I can’t imagine he plays less minutes than he did for the Lightning. I’m excited to watch him this year.

From Jackie Kay: Which summer move/addition is getting under hyped and which one is over hyped?

I’m not so sure it’s under-hyped, but the Colorado Avalanche trade for Ross Colton is going to be the most important move they made. He’ll be Jared Bednar’s new utility man, I’m almost sure of it.

As for over-hyped, everyone is excited for Jonathan Drouin to be reunited with Nathan MacKinnon, but the reality is he’s making close to league minimum. If it doesn’t work out, the team won’t hesitate to move on from him. I actually like his chances of working in Colorado, but he’s far from a perfect player.

As for the rest of the league, NHL Free Agency seems like it was years ago, so I’m having to jar my memory here. I loved pretty much everything the Coyotes did. Even if they’re not a playoff team again, they’ll make life difficult for opposing teams. Signing Jason Zucker to a one-year deal was brilliant. If they miss the playoffs, which I think they will, they can flip him for a nice asset. And if he helps them sneak in, it might make it easier to strike an arena deal. There’s no downside.

Over-hyped? The Erik Karlsson move comes to mind, but I also don’t think the Pittsburgh Penguins gave up much of value to get him. They’re stuck with their aging core, and are giving it one last run, but in the competitive East, I’m not even sure they’re a lock for a playoff spot.

Also, I think Dmitry Orlov was a great signing by Carolina, but defense isn’t exactly their issue. Could that money have been better used to find a forward? I’m not sure it really solves their problems.

From Sean: Should we care about PTO’s?

From Merritt: Holland, Kiviranta, why?

Should you care about PTO’s? Kind of.

The Avalanche bring in players on PTO’s every year, but they don’t always sign them. They wouldn’t bring in someone they don’t have a little interest in, though. You also have to dress 8 players every preseason game who have a fair bit of NHL experience, and PTO’s are an easy way to do that.

Of the two, I would take Joel Kiviranta a little more seriously. He hasn’t played in the AHL since 2020, so they likely see him as an NHL player. He has strong defensive metrics, but brings little to no offense.

If there’s any concern with PTO’s, it’s that they potentially limit opportunities for younger players in camp. That being said, if you can’t beat out Peter Holland (hasn’t played hockey in over a year) or Kiviranta (9 points in 70 games last year), maybe you aren’t cut out for the NHL right now. There are other factors that come into play, but you want a young guy to outplay guys like that.

The flip side of that is – couldn’t you find someone already in your system to do what Kiviranta did last year? It doesn’t seem like it would be hard for a young player to do that, if given the same opportunities. That’s just my opinion, though.

From Rick: Rank Meyers, Foudy, Olausson, Malinski, Pavel and Olofsson in NHL games played this season. Rank Johansen, Drouin, Colton and Wood in points.

For part one, I’d go: Meyers, Olofsson, Pavel, Malinski, Foudy, Olausson

I have Pavel higher than others would, I imagine. I was tempted to swap him and Foudy, but Foudy has been recovering from an injury for a while, so I don’t know where he’s at in his recovery. I’ve reached out to his agent for an update. Foudy cracking the team out of camp would be a huge for the Avalanche. The fourth line, in particular, might have a lot of moving parts early in the season.

As for the NHL guys, I’ll go: Colton, Johansen, Drouin, Wood

I’m taking a MASSIVE swing with Colton, but I’ll dig into that soon with my bold predictions for the year. Health also comes into play, as Johansen and Drouin haven’t always played full seasons in recent years.

From Blake: What do you think has the potential to be the biggest mistake of the Avs’ offseason?

I would say there’s a few potential mistakes. Did they give up on Alex Newhook too soon? Did they commit too much to Miles Wood? Ryan Johansen as the 2C?

Of those three, I’ll say potentially the biggest mistake is banking on Johansen bouncing back. There weren’t a ton of options in free agency, and of the few, we don’t even know if those players would have wanted to come to Colorado (*cough* Ryan O’Reilly *cough), but a lot is riding on Johansen this season. I can’t wait to see how it works out. He’s been in Denver for about a month, so he’s putting in the work.

Wood is a long-term commitment, but he’s a bottom six player and he’s ultimately not making a ton of cash. They can survive if that doesn’t work out. I also wasn’t a huge Newhook believer, and I don’t even see him as a full-time center in the NHL, so I was fine with that move. He needed a change.

From Michael: Were the Avs caught waiting for Jonathan Toews?

No, I think the majority of NHL teams knew Toews was leaning towards either not playing, or just retiring all together. I don’t think anyone was waiting on him.

From McMicMac: Malinski and Toews make sense as a pairing? Then move Bo up with Cale. Should Malinski need more time or just Not show well. Do we go after a RHD early on in the year or just roll a Lefty. Know Beds likes to have L – R pairs

Devon Toews would make any defenseman he plays with look good, so he’d fit with anyone. He might even make me look NHL-calibre, and I’ve lost a step or 40. I like Malinski, and Bednar does like his L-R pairs, but the Avalanche already have a lot of what Malinski brings in their NHL lineup. I think it will take an injury to one of those puck-movers to get Malinski a call-up.

I see a RHD as a need on the team. Ethan Bear would fill that hole nicely, once he’s healthy. Keep an eye out for the waiver wire during training camp. I could see the Avalanche looking for a defenseman that way.

Colorado's premier coverage of the Avalanche from professional hockey people. Evan Rawal, 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 © 2023 National Hockey Now.