Assuming the NHL has a 2020/21 season (fingers crossed!), there has been speculation that the Colorado Avalanche will aggressively pursue big names to try and take another run at the Stanley Cup. Rightfully so – if the Avalanche had a healthy Phillip Grubauer and/or Erik Johnson for the 2020 playoffs, the Avalanche/Stars series would likely not have been as close. Joe Sakic and his staff have done an amazing job constructing this club into a Stanley Cup contender.
So, why the apparent rush for the 2020/21 season? For one, captain Gabriel Landeskog will become an UFA next summer (or Fall). Making things even more difficult is the fact that Calder Trophy candidate defenceman Cale Makar will finish his entry level contract and become an RFA. Both will be big, long-term tickets that the Avalanche may or may not be able to afford. Does that mean the Colorado’s window for success closes after next season?
Is Colorado’s ‘Window’ Closing?
My take – no, the window is not closing. Yes, it would be a severe blow to lose your Captain, but Colorado also has one of the best players in the world, Nathan MacKinnon, on deck. On the other hand, if the Avalanche prioritize Landeskog then they run the risk not being able to sign rookie sensation Makar. That would be devastating, but even more so if Colorado was light on defense prospects – which they are not. Enter last year’s 4th overall pick, Bowen Byram.
Having had the opportunity of watching Byram progress since he was 13 years of age, I can confirm that he is the real deal. I will spare readers a detailed comparison between the two, but Makar may have some offensive upside while Byram will thrive as a legitimate two-way, old school type of defender. All in all, these are good problems for the Colorado Avalanche. GM Joe Sakic obviously has an excellent amateur scouting staff, and the group has taken full advantage of the premium draft picks they have been afforded.
2021 Avalanche Roster
In the meantime, the Avalanche have plenty decisions to make this off-season. From our friends at CapFriendly.com, the Avalanche will need to stick handle negotiations with three forwards, two defencemen, and one goaltender -all of whom will becoming UFA’s this Fall. Additionally, Colorado has four forwards, and three defencemen becoming RFA’s this Fall.
The negotiations for these 13 2020 Avalanche roster players will dictate what they can do in the short term. Read: sign a few proven studs and take aim at the 2021 Stanley Cup. Maybe more importantly, it could also provide clues on how Colorado might tackle the pending Landeskog/Makar 2022 contracts.
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