Avalanche owner Stan Kroenke (Denver Post file photo)
There should be some fine free-agent NHL players available July 1, and the Avalanche should have plenty of cash to spend if owner Stan Kroenke gives the OK.
The Avs have 12 players under contract for the 2010-11 season at combined, cap-averaged salaries of $28.2 million. The salary cap is expected to stay at or near the current $56.7 million. Of the few players the Avs definitely need to re-sign (Peter Mueller, Chris Stewart, Kyle Quincey), most are restricted free agents, meaning they won't have full leverage in negotiations, giving the upper hand to management.
Assuming the Avs' payroll jumps to about $40 million with the re-signings of their players, it would leave plenty of room to go after a name or two on the open market. Keep in mind the Avs still have a "rebuild with youth" mentality, but general manager Greg Sherman helped turn around his team's fortunes on the open market last summer with the signing of goalie Craig Anderson (at a bargain rate), and no team can ignore the importance of free-agent day even in a salary cap era.
Here, then, are my top three recommendations to the Avs as potential signees:
Ilya Kovalchuk, LW — Yes, I would make an offer. No, he didn't even help the New Jersey Devils get out of the first round after his blockbuster acquisition from Atlanta. But the Avs should seriously consider getting him. He's only 27 and has skills you can't teach, and the Avs could afford what figures to be at least an $8 million salary.
The Avs need another goal scorer. Their top prospects are mostly de- fensemen and role-playing forwards. A left winger of Kovalchuk's skill and age doesn't come around too often on the open market, and the Avs would be foolish not to make a big run at him.
Dan Hamhuis, D — He may not be worth the probable $3 million to $4 million a year he figures to get, but the Nashville defenseman is a solid player, and the Avs could get a good veteran to help
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ease the transition for prospects such as Kevin Shattenkirk, Colby Cohen and Cameron Gaunce.
Brian McGrattan, RW — If the Avs let fighter David Koci go, they'll need a replacement, and the Calgary enforcer is one of the better pugilists in the league.
Complain all you want about fighting in the NHL, but as long as it's allowed, you need a good one on the roster, and he is.
Great article that highlights our potential targets, who are some feasible acquisitions that you would like to see? I would be absolutely thrilled with Kovalchuk we really need that top notch offensive talent that we have so badly lacked since the injury plagued Forsberg left us and Joe Sakic aging.
We needd on of the big 3 on d imo. Our D is way to slow and to unphysical to do anything. I want Hammer or Zbynek personally i think either would add alot. Trade Cumiskey, Yip in a deal with picks or spects for Byfuglien or Sharp because chicago is ****ed cap wise. So then we could have
Sharp/Buff - Stastny - Stewart
Mueller - Duchene - Duke
Galiardi - Oreilly - Jones
Porter - Yelle - Hendricks
Hannan - Quincey
Liles - Hamhuis/Michalek
Shattenkirk - Wilson
I do agree with you two that our Defense needs beefed up. We looked pretty foolish trying to stop the sharks in the playoffs they fired away at Andy at will. That definitely has to change. Looking at how many great prospects we have I don't see any reason we cannot trade to improve but I do like the cap flexibility we have with such a young roster.
yup have to agree , foote has been great in the past for us but he is getting on , and i think it is time to hang up the blades , so yeah we defo need a big , gritty D man , and we defo need a goal scorer . we have everything else , duchene , statsny and co , do the job well .