According to Mike Chambers of The Denver Post, the Avs’ top priority heading into free agency is to add left-handed shooting defensemen.
Chambers previously reported the club is unlikely to re-sign pending unrestricted free agent defensemen Jan Hejda or Ryan Wilson. Both are left shots.
“As a coach, yes, we’d like to have somebody to play with EJ (inaudible) and Tyson. Obviously, we have (Nick) Holden and (Brad) Stuart, who are left shots, but we’d like to add a defenseman in the top four,” Patrick Roy said. “I think it will help our team tremendously.”
According to Generalfanager.com, there are currently 60 left shot blue liners set to hit the open market on July 1.
Chambers suggests the Avs will focus on Andrej Sekera, Christian Ehrhoff, Matt Irwin, Johnny Oduya and Paul Martin. Sekera is the Avs’ top target, according to Chambers.
The 29-year-old split the 2014-15 season between the Carolina Hurricanes and L.A. Kings scoring three goals and 23 points in 73 games while averaging nearly 22 minutes a night in ice time.
Kings’ GM Dean Lombardi said the team was in negotiations with Sekera last month and believes the blue liner wants to remain in Los Angeles.
Colorado could have as much as $13 million to play with in free agency.
“It’s definitely and exciting time for everybody — stressful as well,” GM Joe Sakic said of free agency. “We’ve got guys that we’re looking to see what we can do about adding to our lineup and see if something fits. It’s a two-way street. You can like somebody but they have to … players pick where they want to go. We have guys in mind that we’d like to come on board and help us win … We’re working and things keep coming up.”
With six defensemen already under contract for the 2015-16 season the Colorado Avalanche are unlikely to re-sign Jan Hejda or Ryan Wilson according to Mike Chambers of The Denver Post.
Both blue liners are set to become unrestricted free agents on July 1.
Hejda had a goal and 12 assists to go along with a minus-12 rating during the 2014-15 season. The 36-year-old made $3.25 million in the final year of his four-year, $13 million deal.
Wilson’s three-year, $6.75 million deal expires next month. The 28-year-old appeared in just three games with the Avalanche in 2014-15 prior to undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery in November. Over the past three seasons Wilson has appeared in just 43 games with Colorado and one game with the Lake Erie Monsters of the American Hockey League.
The future of Stefan Elliott is also uncertain.
Chambers reports the defenseman has fallen out of favor with the Avs.
Elliott is a pending restricted free agent as his one-year, $850,000 deal is set to expire on July 1.
The 24-year-old appeared in five games for the Avs in 2014-15 season registering a minus-2 rating and two penalty minutes. Elliott also appeared in 64 AHL games with the Lake Erie Monsters where he had 19 goals and 40 points to go along with 22 penalty minutes and a minus-9 rating.
Colorado LW Jamie McGinn underwent successful back surgery on Wednesday, but that might be it from the good news department:
McGinn, 26, has been sidelined since mid-November with his back ailment. Prior to getting hurt, he’d appeared in 19 games for the Avs, scoring four goals and six points while averaging 14:46 TOI per game.
Losing McGinn was a fairly significant blow for Colorado. He had a very solid ’13-14 campaign, scoring 19 goals and a career-high 38 points while playing nearly 16 minutes a night. McGinn was also a key contributor in the playoffs, scoring five points in seven games against Minnesota, and has always been one of the Avs’ energy guys (he finished fourth among forwards last year with 140 hits).
Colorado, pushed right up against the salary cap ceiling, could put McGinn on LTIR and recoup his $2.95M hit. The club is already receiving some relief with defenseman Ryan Wilson (shoulder) on LTIR, to the tune of $2.25M.