Avalanche’s options are limited due to the limited space available


For a few weeks now, the avalanche fighting has again raised the problem of possible tremors or blows up the six-man core of younger players with lucrative long-term contracts. With Colorado ending the calendar year near the NHL’s $ 73 million cap, options are limited, at least for the short term. Avalanche Cap Space Space estimates range from $ 669,000 (capfriendly.com) to $ 2.7 million (spotrac.com).

Since Semyon Varlamov is injured and Colorado is temporarily playing three goalkeepers, the picture is a bit optimized. But Colorado has pledged about $ 52 million in cap hits for the next season, with the following from the current active squad potentially coming off the books:

Unrestricted Free Agents – Jarome Iginla ($ 5.3 million this season), Fedor Tyutin ($ 2 million), John Mitchell ($ 1.8 million), Rene Bourque ($ 650,000), Andreas Martinsen ($ 640,000), Cody Goloubef ($ 750,000), and Jeremy Smith ($ 675,000).

Restricted Free Agents – Eric Gelinas ($ 1.575M), Mikhail Grigorenko ($ 1.3M), Nikita Zadorov ($ 894,167), and Patrick Wiercioch ($ 800,000).

Among the potential RFAs, at least Zadorov would likely get a qualified offer and a significant increase over his entry-level business.

Also, the buyout of Brad Stuart, who is on the books for $ 3.6 million this season, will be completed.

Other buyouts are possible.

Varly update. Varlamov (groin problems) was unavailable for the fourth straight time against the Rangers on Saturday, and Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said Varlamov would not be for Monday and Vancouver, ahead of Colorado’s 6-2 loss to New York Rangers Play games in Calgary on Wednesday. The Avalanche did not skate in the morning on Saturday, but Varlamov went out on the ice alone to do some work.

“He will stay behind and prepare to move on with his rehab,” Bednar said.

Calvin Pickard started again for Colorado, with the recalled Jeremy Smith assisting him. Smith was the backup in San Antonio behind Spencer Martin, and Bednar said staff would at least talk about the possibility of calling Martin back again for the trip and bringing Smith back to the rampage. “It is certainly something we are thinking about,” said Bednar.

Martin has qualified for Colorado as Pickard’s substitute in five games, Smith for three games when Varlamov was injured. But when they went to the meeting with the Rangers, neither Martin nor Smith had gotten into a game.

Scratched. The avalanche healthy scratches against the Rangers were Goloubef and Joe Colborne.

Duchene on the wing. Matt Duchene recently made no secret of the fact that he prefers to play his natural position on the center rather than the right wing. After skating major stretches on the wing earlier this season, he returned to the center against Toronto on December 11. But when the New Year’s Eve game started on Saturday he was back on the wing – this time on the left wing, on a Carl Soderberg-centered line with Jarome Iginla on the right wing.

“I like him in the middle too,” said Bednar after Duchene was in the wing during Friday practice. “Only on certain nights when a few people are out do we try to bring some of the guys together, especially when we play catch-up hockey. I liked him in the middle, I liked him on the grand piano. I think he’s probably equally good at both. He’s definitely very good in the draw. ”

Bednar said Thursday against Calgary: “We put him back on the left in a D-zone tie. He won two or three in a row and we got some clearings and got him back on. He brings some value there too and is obviously one of the top draw players in the league. We want him to at least draw draws whether he’s in the center or not. ”

After Saturday night’s game, a dejected Duchene said of playing the wing: “I will do whatever is asked of me.”

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