The Colorado Avalanche are locking up players here and there – Matt Duchene and David Jones, in particular – but they still have a ton of free agent decisions to make. They can cross defenseman Ryan Wilson off that list, however, as the team announced a three-year extension for the 25-year-old blueliner. On the other hand, Adrian Dater reports that the team won’t hand Peter Mueller a qualifying offer, permitting the concussion-plagued talent to test unrestricted free agency.
Dater reports that Wilson’s three-year contract is worth $6.75 million overall, paying him a $2 million salary next season and $2.375 million in each of the two following seasons. The team signed lower-level players Patrick Bordeleau and David Van Der Gulik on Monday, too.
The Avalanche still have decisions to make with plenty of other free agents including Erik Johnson, Steve Downie, Ryan O’Reilly, Jamie McGinn and Shane O’Brien.
Declining to hand Mueller a qualifying offer allows him to be one of the more interesting gambles in a thin free agent market. Concussions obviously tag him with a huge red flag, no doubt; he missed all of the 2010-11 season with post-concussion syndrome and was limited to just 32 games last season. He didn’t light up the hockey world in those 32 games, either, averaging exactly a point every other game with 16 (seven goals and nine assists).
That being said, there are plenty of reasons to give the guy a shot – especially if his concussion issues allow a team to limit their risks with a lower money offer.
He exploded onto the scene with Colorado after being traded from Phoenix in 2009-10 scoring nine goals and 20 points in 15 contests. He also has the pedigree that comes with being the eighth overall pick of the 2006 NHL Draft, boasts solid size, a right-handed shot and is still only 24.
Sure, there are questions beyond health – his foot speed isn’t exactly at a world class level – but if the price is right, some other team would be wise to roll the dice. Would he work for your team?