They are not finished yet.
Not even close.
However, how much they can really do remains to be seen.
This is your primer on how much movement space a team will have to work with in free agency.
As of now, the Avalanche has $74,925,000 locked up in 15 players. However, one of those players is Gabriel Landeskog. We know he won’t be playing this year and will be back up for a long time due to injury. This opens up an additional $7 million over the cap, but also means that the Avalanche must replace Landeskog on the roster.
Not exactly easy to do.
With $7,000,000 removed, that leaves $15,575,000 in cap space with 14 players on the roster. Keep in mind that one of those players is Fredrik Olofsson. There’s always the possibility that he could be replaced by someone else on the list, but for the sake of everything, let’s include him. Even if it wasn’t Olofsson, he’d be someone else in that spot, but with the Swede having the league minimum, he may have the inside track for one of the last list spots for maximum-only reasons.
That leaves the 5 forwards Colorado needs and 2 defensemen. We already know Ross Colton will be one of the forwards, Bowen Byram will be one of the defenders, so really it’s 4 forwards 1 defender, but those two can take up to half the cover space left in the team.
So how much space would they actually have to add players to?
- Colton contract He should be easy to negotiate. When the Avalanche acquires players, they usually sign them almost immediately. We’ve seen it with Alexander Georgiev, and before him, the likes of Devon Towes, Andrzej Burakovsky and Philip Grubauer. This is likely to be implemented soon, and I would expect it to be in the $3-4 million range, depending on the duration. Hockey Evolution expects it to be 4 years, $3.3 million a year, which is very reasonable.
- The Buen Byram contract is a bit more complicated. He doesn’t have a lot of comparisons, but his on-ice production is pretty solid. I’m not expecting a long-term deal here, because that would cost a lot of money, and would make it much more difficult for the Avalanche to fill out the rest of the roster. I’m counting on this contract amounting to about $4 million a year.
This leaves the current list as…
To be – Makinnon -?
? – Colton – LOC
Olofsson -? -?
Tuz – Makar
Byram – Gerard
? – Manson
So, if we’re safe and calculate $8,000,000 for these two players, that leaves $7,575,000 for the 5 players on the list. I would say there’s a good chance they’ll have more room than that when the Byram and Colton contracts are completed, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. They won’t have much space either way. Keep in mind that they will not spend right to the cap, so they won’t use everyone This space cover.
What that tells me is that an avalanche will likely be in the process of looking for undervalued deals or players over the next several days (and weeks). There might be room for one or two mid-range players ($2-4M), then fill the rest of the roster with players around $1M.
So now when you’re looking for suitable free agents for Colorado, you have a better idea of how much room they’ll have under the salary cap.
You have my permission to go crazy with your fancy lists.