The Colorado Avalanche did not have a frenzy on the first day of free agency, as expected. The team signed one defenseman, Andre Benoit to a one year deal worth $900,000. Benoit is considered an offensive defenseman, and will probably be expected to boost the offense from the blue line as Stefan Elliott and Tyson Barrie continue to develop and grow into their skill sets. Yesterday, the team realized that putting Greg Zanon on waivers
wouldn’t get rid of him didn’t result in another team picking him up for free. Thus, they decided to buy him out (regular style, because the Avs have been so far below the cap that the only compliance required has been meeting the floor.)
I expect Benoit and Hunwick to battle it out for that seventh spot on the defensive side of the roster, although Benoit has a stronger chance because he wouldn’t need to clear waivers before starting to play. Benoit spent last season with the Senators, and he scored seven points in 33 games.
The team also signed Nate Guenin, who I expect will spend most of his time with the Lake Erie Monsters and fill the hole left by Luke Walker’s departure from the organization.
UPDATE: The Avs have announced the signings of five more players. The most familiar name should be David van der Gulik, who came to terms with the team for another year. van der Gulik has played in the Avalanche organization during the last three years. Most of his time has been spent in Lake Erie with the Monsters, but he’s been a reliable call up whenever the team has found itself short on forwards.
The Avs also came to terms with Colin Smith, a 20 year old player picked in the 2012, and signed him to an entry level contract. I expect he’ll spend most, if not all, of the year in Lake Erie. The other three players are forwards Guillaume Desbiens and JT Wyman and defenseman Nick Holden. Desbiens and Wyman each got one year deals (Desbiens comes to the Avs from the Chicago Wolves, while Wyman comes from the Syracuse Crunch/Tampa Bay Lightning). Holden was given a two year deal, after appearing twice with the Columbus Blue Jackets last season. I expect these players will also spend most of their time with the Monsters.