Over the next two Wednesdays, 31 NHL squads will be redesigned and one created for the Seattle Kraken expansion.
Between the expansion draft on Wednesday and the start of the free agency on July 28, the NHL entry draft will take place practically from July 23 to 24 from New Jersey.
We watch fireworks for two weeks before the dead period kicks off around early August – a stretch that could go a long way in determining whether the Avalanche lives up to its bill as an early Stanley Cup lifting favorite.
The Avs are off to a great start preparing for the busy offseason events. The swap of defender Ryan Graves to New Jersey last week for brilliant striker Mikhail Maltsev and a second-round draft pick was a great move by the club. The Avs traded a player they couldn’t protect in the expansion draft for two assets, including a draft pick that fills a void.
Prior to the Graves Trade, Colorado only had three choices in the upcoming draft – a first, a third, and a seventh. Now it has the 61st overall pick between the 28th and 90th, and Maltsev is a 6-foot-3 left winger exempt from the expansion draft and someone the Avs could use next season.
The Avs traded their original 2021 second round draft pick, which turned out to be No. 60, with defenseman Devon Toews ahead of last season. They also gave the New York Islanders their 2022 second-round draft pick for Toews, who led Colorado in average ice age last season at 12:46 p.m.
Say what you want about the Avalanche’s perceived lack of playoff criticism, General Manager Joe Sakic and his staff – particularly top assistant Chris MacFarland – continue to make smart offseason moves for a team that has received its first Presidents’ Trophy 20 years ago.
To sustain this trend, Sakic and his company must successfully address the following pressing issues:
– Prepare to lose a good player in Wednesday’s draft expansion. The Protected List of Avs was filed on Saturday and will be released on Sunday at 8 a.m. MT after the central registry approves it. I suspect they will lose a striker (JT Compher, Valeri Nichushkin or Tyson Jost) or defender Jacob MacDonald.
– Trust the director of the amateur scouting director Wade Klippenstein. Klippenstein and his eight-person support team, who are new to their job this off-season, must determine the best available player at the end of the first, second and third round from July 23rd to 24th. While whoever will pick them is unlikely to make an instant impact (especially the seventh round player on Day 2), organizational depth is critical for a team that sticks to the salary cap. Klippenstein takes over Alan Hepple, today’s Pro Scouting Director for Arizona.
– Find out what it takes to re-sign Cale Makar, limited free agent defender. Based on Saturday’s signing of comparable Dallas defender Miro Heiskanen (eight years, $ 67.6 million, for an annual cap hit of $ 8.45 million), the Avs may need $ 9 million or spend more annually on Makar to avoid an ugly RFA bid sheet from another team. As soon as the first big domino falls or the price is fixed, the Avs know how much money they have to work with in an independent agency next week. The finalist of the Norris Trophy 2021, who is not capable of arbitration, could agree to an agreement at any time until the season opener in October.
– Change or change from the left wing and team captain Gabe Landeskog. The captain enters the free agent market on July 28, but the Avs can make a decision beforehand. I think Landeskog wants a long-term contract (six to eight years) with an annual cap of $ 8 million. I think $ 7 million in five years could keep Landy in Denver and keep him from capturing Seattle, or even getting $ 8 million a year from a team like St. Louis.
– Finalize your goalkeeping plans behind or in front of the surgically repaired Pavel Francouz. It starts with the new signing or the change of UFA goalkeeper Philipp Grubauer. If you move on and don’t think Francouz and a young prospect can do the job, you’ll have to sign another UFA or maybe swap and sign for a guy like Darcy Kuemper from Arizona who is going into the final year of his contract at a 4, $ 5 million cap hit.
The Avs’ extensive to-do list is exhausting. But August is just around the corner.