Avalanche hire Bednar as Head Coach

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The Colorado Avalanche announced on Thursday that they have hired Jared Bednar as the seventh head coach in Avalanche history.

Bednar, 44, was previously the head coach of the Lake Erie Monsters of the AHL who won the Calder Cup this past season. He served as the head coach of the Blue Jackets affiliate for two seasons after being brought in as an assistant coach, but was promoted after Brad Larsen was moved up to be an assistant for Columbus. He went 81-50-21 in his two seasons as the Monsters head coach.

“After profiling the type of coach I wanted for our team and going through an interview process with several good candidates, I believe that Jared Bednar is the best person to lead this team behind the bench,” Executive Vice President/General Manager Joe Sakic said in a press release. “Jared’s track record of success as a head coach in the American Hockey League speaks for itself and he is considered to be one of the top up-and-coming coaches in our business.”

Bednar was the head coach of the Peoria Rivermen from 2010-12 after coming over from the South Carolina Stingrays of the ECHL where he won his first championship.

In six seasons as an AHL and ECHL head coach, his clubs have made the playoffs four times and won two championships.

The Avalanche brought in Nolan Pratt to be an assistant coach this offseason from Lake Erie and he will join Bednar on the Avalanche bench.

 

“My family and I are thrilled to be heading to Denver to begin this new challenge,” said Bednar in a team press release. “I feel ready for this role with the Avalanche and I am grateful for the trust that  Josh Kroenke, Joe (Sakic) and the organization has shown me. This is a great sports market with a passionate fan base and I can’t wait to get to work. I would also like to thank the Columbus Blue Jackets organization for the opportunity they gave me.”

 

Avalanche and Barrie agree to a new for year deal


Following an arbitration hearing on Friday, the Colorado Avalanche and Defenseman Tyson Barrie came to terms on a new four-year, $22 million deal for the restricted free agent.

The deal was announced on Sunday which was when the arbitrator was expected to rule on the salary for Barrie. The Avalanche submitted a salary of $4-million  for the first season and $4.25-million the following two years, while Barrie and his agent Don Meehan submitted a one-year, $6-million deal.

Barrie will make $5M, $5.25M, $5.75M and $6M over the next four years with an annual cap hit of $5.5M making him the sixth highest paid player on the roster, and the second highest paid defenseman behind Erik Johnson and his $6M cap hit.

The Avalanche now have all 23 NHL players under contract for next season, however the two new deals for Barrie and Nathan MacKinnon put the team right up against the salary cap. GeneralFanager.com projects that they currently have only $959, 407 of cap space.

Barrie is coming off a 13-goal, 36-assist season with 21 points on the power play. In 264 career games Barrie has registered 40-goals and 113-assists for 153 points.

Avalanche sign MacKinnon to new deal


The Colorado Avalanche announced Friday that the organization has signed forward Nathan MacKinnon to a new seven-year contract.

According to multiple reports, the deal is worth a total of $44.1M with an AAV of $6.3M per season which would make him the highest paid member of the Avalanche. Matt Duchene was the team’s previously highest paid player with a cap hit of $6M per season.

The deal leaves the Avalanche with an estimated $7.76M in cap space for the upcoming season with 21 players currently under contract. Defenseman Tyson Barrie is scheduled to have an arbitration hearing sometime between July 20th and August 5th that will determine his salary, and forward Mikhail Grigorenko needs a new deal as a restricted free agent.

The news comes just minutes after the Winnipeg Jets announced a new eight-year, $49M deal today.

MacKinnon’s contract is the second highest deal handed out to a restricted free agent this offseason behind Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad, who inked a new eight-year deal worth $7.5M per season.

The former first-round pick from 2013 has 59 goals, 94 assists for 153 points in 218 career games and finished third on the Avalanche scoring list this past season with 21 goals and 31 assists in 72 games.

Barrie and Grigorenko file for arbitration


With Tuesday’s deadline for players to file for salary arbitration, the NHLPA announced that 24 players filed for this season including Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie and forward Mikhail Grigorenko.
Since the players elected to file, the team will dictate the terms of the deal meaning the Avalanche can choose to give either player a one or two year deal and an arbitrator will decide the players salary for the length of the contract.

The players and the team can continue to negotiate up until the date of the players hearing with the hearings taking place anywhere between July 20th and August 4th.

Avalanche sign Calvin Pickard to new deal


The Colorado Avalanche announced on Tuesday that they have signed goaltender Calvin Pickard to a new two-year deal.
According to Mike Chambers of the Denver Post, the deal is worth a total of $2.05 million with $925K for this coming season and $1.075M the next.

Pickard, 24, is set to become the full time back-up goalkeeper to Semyon Varlamov after splitting the same role with Reto Berra last year and spending time in the American Hockey League as well.

In 13 starts with the Avalanche he posted a 7-6-1 record with a 2.56 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage. He appeared in 21 games last year with the San Antonio Rampage finishing with a 9-8-4 record with a 2.75 goals-against average and a .917 save-percentage.

The club traded goaltender Reto Berra to the Florida Panthers last most for forward Rocco Grimaldi, paving the way for Pickard to earn more playing time with the NHL club this season. It will be interesting to see whether it will be Pickard or Varlamov that gets protected by the Avalanche for next year’s expansion draft, as league rules stipulate that one of them must be made available.

Varlamov, has three years left on his contract that will expire after the 2019-20 season with a cap hit of $5.9M per season.

Avalanche to buy out Stuart

In a meeting with the media on Monday as he introduced one of the newest members of the Avalanche, GM Joe Sakic said the team will buy out veteran defenseman Brad Stuart according to Mike Chambers of the Denver Post.

Stuart, 36, will not give the Avalanche cap relief because of his contract being a 35-plus deal, but it will save the club $1.2M this season and more importantly open up roster space for some of the younger guys on the blue line.

Stuart, played in just six games last season before sitting out the rest of the way with a back injury after a rather unsuccessful 68 game stint in his first year with the Avalanche after being traded from San Jose.

Sakic has said several times recently that the team wants to create more ice time for the younger guys on the roster and it appears that this move and the trade of Nick Holden on Saturday will do just that.

Barring any moves in free agency, the Avalanche defense will feature Erik Johnson, Francois Beauchemin, Tyson Barrie, Nikita Zadorov, Chris Bigras and either Eric Gelinas or Duncan Siemens.

Siemens was one of five restricted free agents to receive qualifying offers from the organization ahead of Monday’s deadline.

There are a couple of options to add defensively via free agency in Kris Russell, Jason Demera and the recently non-qualified Patrick Wiercioch from Ottawa, but most likely we will see a mostly young lineup in what could be another rebuilding year in the Mile High City.

Avalanche announce qualifying offers

The Colorado Avalanche announced five players have been extended qualifying offers as restricted free agents, ahead of Monday’s deadline.

Tyson Barrie, Nathan MacKinnon, Calvin Pickard, Mikhail Grigorenko and Duncan Siemens were the players who were qualified.

Brandon Gormley, Dennis Everberg, Joey Hishon, Taylor Beck, Sami Aittokallio, Borna Rendulic, Garrett Mears, Trevor Cheek and Gabriel Beaupre were organizational members who were not qualified by the team.

The players who were not qualified will be unrestricted free agents on July 1st.