The Avalanche can check one thing off their to-do board this morning. Andre Burakovsky had the best season of his entire career in his first year wearing the burgundy and blue. Stoked he’ll be back in the Mile High City. Burky finished with seven more points than his previous best and he did that in 21 less games. Every single players production was cut short by the season getting shut down, but you could only imagine how much he would have actually broken his personal best scoring record had the season played out normally. So the guy has for sure earned his pay raise. Joe Sakic (Avs GM) has clearly seen how productive he can be when playing for a fast paced team like the Avalanche. Even with the Avalanche bumping up Burakvosky’s salary it still gives the team an estimated $17.5 million in cap space to work with, according to CapFriendly.
The Burakovsky signing is the first big thing the Avalanche have done during this NHL Free Agent Frenzy. Even with an extensive amount of cap space the Avalanche have stayed put when it comes to fancy new signings. It’s in a way disappointing that Sakic hasn’t done much. The team has a bunch of cap space to play with, and teams in the Avalanche’s division have made big name signings already to make their teams better. When other teams in the division get better and your team doesn’t do anything it can be frustrating. Plus it’s more fun when your team is involved in the Free Agent Frenzy.
I can’t blame Joe Sakic for not going after unrestricted free agents, there are still 5 restricted free agents on the Avalanche roster that do need contracts. Nikita Zadarov, and Ryan Graves need contracts on the defensive side. Now that Tory Krug has been signed by the St. Louis Blues there really isn’t a defensemen on the market that would be an upgrade on the defensive side of the puck over these two. Yes Alex Pietrangelo is still available and that would be an upgrade, but the Avalanche wouldn’t be able to sign him to a contract and be able to pay Cale Makar the money he rightfully deserves next year. Plus the Captain is an unrestricted free agent next year. Philip Grubauer is due a new contract next year as well. Not to mention Pietrangelo has been heavily linked to the Golden Knights, so much so it would be shocking if he went elsewhere, so he’s probably already off the Avalanche’s radar. So while the Avalanche have a bunch of cap space to work with this year Joe Sakic would like to keep his books as clean as possible so that it’s easy to resign his core pieces to contracts next year. That $17.5 million in cap space still gives the Avalanche some fire power to play with in free agency this offseason though.
While it is a little disappointing the Avalanche haven’t done much yet, the fans can be happy that Andre Burakovsky has been resigned. I’m stoked it happened. It’s all I wanted from yesterday when it became clear the Avalanche weren’t going to do anything big on the first day of free agency. But now it is day two of free agency and Avalanche fans want to see their team improve this offseason. Taylor Hall is still out there waiting to be signed and my hopes of seeing him in the Mile High City are immeasurable. It looks like the reports of a Taylor Hall deal being done already seem to be false. Which is the big sad, but there is still a high likely hood that the former MVP dons a burgundy sweater come the start of the season. Hall wants to win the Stanley Cup and the Avalanche give him the best shot at that. Stoked for the Burakovsky signing, but now it’s time for the Avalanche to get better on paper over the offseason.