Before I jump into the real purpose of this article, just thought I would tell everyone that Steve Downie re-signed yesterday with the Avalanche. His two year deal holds a $2.65 million cap hit.
The NHL’s free agency period begins tomorrow. As such, I thought I would look at players who the Avalanche could potentially target and sign.
Franly, I wouldn’t expect the Avalanche to sign any free agent goalies or defensemen. The tandem of Semyon Varlamov and J.S. Giguere is just going to be stronger this year. Also, the Avalanche have signed 5 NHL defensemen already, and Erik Johnson WILL be signed, or I’m a fruit bat. Unless Ryan Suter tells the Avalanche that he will play for free, don’t expect them to sign any defensemen. As such, I would look for the Avalanche to target 1-2 wingers, and potentially a fourth line center (though they may elect to just let Brad Malone fill that role, as he had a strong year last year).
-Ideally, the Avalanche will sign Zach Parise. Parise is a fantastic player, and he is good friends with Paul Stastny and Erik Johnson. Perhaps the allure of reuniting with his Olympic linemate Paul Stastny, combined with Colorado being a great place to live, will bring Parise to the Avs.
-P.A. Parenteau scored 67 points last year, and he could potentially fill a hole on Matt Duchene’s wing.
-Jordin Tootoo could work well. He had a good season with Nashville this past year, and it looks likely he will be leaving in search of a new home. If he came to the Avs he could work well on a line with Matt Duchene (not all season, but occasionally), and he could also fill in some fourth-line minutes with strong skill. Unfortunately, Tootoo is a smaller player, something the Avs seem to have too many of.
-Ray Whitney could really work. The man is
100 40 years old and he still put up 77 points last year. That’s 20 more points than any Avalanche player last year.
-Jiri Hudler did have 50 points last year. He might be a nice fit, and he might spread his wings out on a team that doesn’t have Datsyuk or Zetterberg stealing all the ice time.
-Brandon Prust would be a really good energy player for the Avs to add, as a fourth-liner.
-Alexander Semin: I don’t know much about him, other than the fact he is a sniper and everyone whines about his effort level. If the Avalanche feel he could be a motivated player, he might come. He and Semyon Varlamov are good friends, afterall.
-Paul Gaustad might be a nice addition in the role of fourth line center. He’s good for about 25 points a year (10 goals), and is a very large player. At 6′ 5″ he could outmuscle other centers in the faceoff circle easily.
-Richard Park was the Penguins fourth-line center for much of this year. He would bring some veteran leadership to the team, as well as strong faceoff skills.