Countdown to Free Agent Frenzy
The Colorado Avalanche went on a late-season run to reach the playoffs before upsetting the Calgary Flames and then falling in seven games to the San Jose Sharks.
After the team's strong finish to the season, Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic said Tuesday he expects to be aggressive in free agency as he looks to add to his roster this summer.
"It's a pretty good class this year," Sakic said. "(We) already have targeted players in mind if they become available that we'll want to talk to about joining our club. We see positions of need, of what we're looking to do. There are a few guys we're going to want to talk to if they become available. We'll be more aggressive this year with that, but if it doesn't work out with the players we want to talk to we're not just going to go spend on anybody. We want the right players and the right fit."
The Avalanche have five pending unrestricted free agents in goalie Semyon Varlamov, forwards Derick Brassard, Colin Wilson and Gabriel Bourque, and defenceman Patrick Nemeth. Colorado also has a total of seven restricted free agents, including Mikko Rantanen, who Sakic said the team hopes to sign to a long-term deal.
The Avalanche, who currently have just $47.74 million committed in salary for next season, also own the fourth and 16th overall picks in next month's draft. Sakic said he doesn't plan on parting with the fourth overall, which previously belonged to the Ottawa Senators, but will "listen" to offers.
"We're excited about this off-season. There's a lot of things we can do to improve this club, make us a stronger team next year," Sakic added. "We saw the growth in the last couple years here and we want to keep growing like that. You see the Pepsi Center, the playoff atmosphere, the atmosphere all year. I think there's a lot of excitement about this team. We got to keep building and try to get to the next level."