Here’s what we know about changes in Colorado this offseason.
There won’t be one at the top, as GM Joe Sakic got a vote of confidence from team president Josh Kroenke.
There won’t be one behind the bench, as head coach Jared Bednar got a vote of confidence from Sakic.
There will, however, be changes to the roster.
“There’s going to be a lot of turnover,” Sakic said on Tuesday, in an interview with Altitude Sports 950. “We’re going to get some younger guys in here. We’re expecting to be a much quicker team and a much more competitive team.”
To hear Sakic explain it, the likes of J.T. Compher, Tyson Jost, A.J. Greer, Matt Nieto and Sven Andrighetto will add speed and skill to the club’s “young core.” It’s believed that core consists of two of Sakic’s untouchables — Mikko Rantanen and Nathan MacKinnon — and may or may not include the likes of Matt Duchene, Tyson Barrie and captain Gabriel Landeskog.
That puts question marks on a number of others.
One has to wonder what the future has in store for 31-year-old Carl Soderberg, who had a disastrous year offensively with just six goals and 14 points in 80 games. Soderberg is on the books at $4.75 million annually through 2019. Another pair of experienced forwards, Blake Comeau and Joe Colborne, have one year left on their respective deals at $2.4 and $2.5 million. Both failed to muster much production last season.
Then there’s the defense.
“We’ve still got to work on our back end,” Sakic explained. “That’s a work in progress. Hopefully we’re going to have a signing here soon that we can announce (KHLer Andrei Mironov, who’s reportedly on his way to Colorado), so we’re waiting and seeing if we can do that.
“But for sure, that’s an area that we would like to improve.”
With just four blueliners under contract — Barrie, Erik Johnson, Francois Beauchemin and Mark Barberio — Sakic has some decisions to make. Fedor Tyutin and Cody Goloubef are UFAs but, given the GM’s desire to go young, probably aren’t in the plans. Nikita Zadorov and Patrick Wiercioch are RFAs.
As for how Sakic plans to remodel his defense? Well, it certainly doesn’t sound like he’ll be spending money on the open market.
“We’re not going to be players in free agency,” he said. “We want to grow our kids and keep the youth movement going, and try and develop and have them grow together.”
Reading between the lines, it sure sounds like Sakic could be more active on the trade market this summer than he was during the regular season. If the plan is for “a lot of turnover” and the preference is to stay quiet in free agency, it’s the only logical way to make changes.
“We’ll be on the phone quite a bit,” Sakic said.