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Change In Contract Clause Creates Trade Flexibility With Avalanche Defenseman

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Avalanche MacDermid Manson

I’m not saying the Colorado Avalanche will trade Josh Manson this summer, but recent a change to one of the clauses in his contract now gives them some options.

When the Avalanche signed Manson to his four year, $18 million contract after winning the Stanley Cup in 2022, a no-trade clause was included. That’s typically the price you pay when you sign someone who is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent. For the first two years of the deal, Manson’s contract included a full no-trade clause.

That is no longer the case.

On June 15, 2024, that no-trade clause went from applying to every team in the league to now just applying to 12 other NHL teams, according to CapFriendly (you will be missed). That means that Manson has to submit a list of 12 teams he would deny a trade to. That doesn’t mean the Avalanche couldn’t trade him to any of those teams, but they would have to go to Manson to get permission to make that move. If he says no, which he would have the right to do, the deal doesn’t happen. They wouldn’t have to do that for the other 19 teams not included on his no-trade list.

Manson, who will turn 33 right after training camp ends this October, is coming off his most productive NHL season since 2017-18, having scored a career high eight goals and picking up 25 points. A big reason he was able to do that is because he was able to stay on the ice. Availability had been an issue for Manson over the previous four seasons. Between 2019 and 2023, he had only managed to dress in 167 of a possible 302 games.

During the 2022-23 campaign with the Avalanche, his first full season after signing the big contract, he was limited to just 27 games due to an abdominal injury. Manson had surgery to repair that issue last summer, and after missing most of training camp, dressed in 76 games this past season, as well as all 11 in the playoffs. That’s a big improvement, but given his injury history, style of play, and age, can you expect that to happen again?

Manson is a solid defenseman who has a lot more skill than you might expect, but he is also is a bit unpredictable at times. He’ll make ill-advised pinches at the offensive blueline and in the neutral zone that leave his defensive partner hanging, and is prone to the ugly giveaway from time-to-time. On the flip side, he brings an element that no other defenseman on the roster can provide, and that’s a nasty side. If you trade him, a relatively small defensive core suddenly gets a little smaller.

If the Avalanche are trading Manson, they would look to replace him with someone who would cost less. At $4.5 million, you could argue Manson is a little overpaid for what he provides. There are some bigger defensemen that will be available on the free agent market this summer, including Dmitry Kulikov, Brenden Dillon, and Jani Hakanpää, just to name a few. With the salary cap going up, GM’s might go a little crazy this off-season, but none of those guys should get the $4.5 million that Manson currently is making. I’m sure there’s one GM out there that wants to prove me wrong, though.

Trading Manson is far from a guarantee, but with this recent change in his contract, the Avalanche now have a bit of flexibility.

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