Not long after inking No. 1 defenseman Erik Johnson to a big seven-year, $42 million extension, Colorado GM Joe Sakic said he’ll begin work on deals for two of his prized restricted free agents — d-man Tyson Barrie, and former Calder winner Nathan MacKinnon.
“[Johnson was] one UFA we wanted to get done and we know we have some other guys,” Sakic said on Tuesday, per the Denver Post. “We’re going to have talks with both of their representatives.
“They’re RFAs, so they’re not going anywhere.”
Of the two, the focus will primarily be on MacKinnon, the former No. 1 overall pick that’s currently in the last of his three-year, entry-level deal. Negotiations should prove interesting, as he’s got a lot riding on this season — after a stellar rookie campaign followed by last year’s sophomore slump, the pressure to rebound is on.
Barrie, though, should not be overlooked.
One of the better young offensive defensemen in the league — he finished eighth in NHL d-man scoring last year, with 53 points — the 24-year-old is vitally important to the Avs, especially on the power play (he led the team with 14 PP assists.) As such, he could be in line for a nice raise from his current deal, a two-year, $5.2 million pact with a $2.6M average annual cap hit.
Cap space doesn’t project to be an issue for Colorado. Per war-on-ice.com, the club has just over $51 million committed to the payroll for next season.