Avs add F Wilson, G Bernier
The Avalanche acquired forward Colin Wilson from the Nashville Predators for a 2019 fourth-round draft pick Saturday, shortly after free agency opened and Colorado signed unrestricted free-agent goalie Jonathan Bernier.
Avs general manager Joe Sakic did not find the right trade partner to move high-profile forward Matt Duchene, who was rumored to be going to the Columbus Blue Jackets or Nashville Predators.
“I don’t create the rumors, and I don’t comment on them,” Sakic said.
Trading Duchene would undoubtedly bring a top-four defensemen to Colorado.
“I’d love to upgrade the D, for sure, if we could,” Sakic said. “But every team wants to upgrade their D and it’s not easy as you think. Really, you have to draft guys and bring them through your system. We went through the draft (June 2324), drafted some (defensemen). They’re not ready yet. It takes time building up your D-core.”
Wilson, 27, is under contract for the next two seasons, with a $4 million annual salary. The 2008 firstround draft pick (seventh overall) has 95 goals in 502 career regularseason games. He had 12 goals and 35 points in 70 games last season, plus four points (two goals) in 14 playoff games for the Stanley Cuprunner-up. He will presumably play a third-line role with the Avs.
“Colin brings experience and depth to our lineup,” Sakic said. “He’s a two-way player who plays a strong game and is a good pro.”
Wilson played two seasons for Boston University and helped the Terriers win the 2009 national championship as a sophomore.
Bernier, 28, is also a former firstround selection (No. 11 in 2006), and Colorado signed him to a oneyear deal worth $2.75 million. He played last season with the Anaheim Ducks (2.51 goals-against average, .915 save percentage), after a three-year stint in Toronto with the Maple Leafs.
Bernier entered the NHL with the Los Angeles Kings, and he has a career 2.66 GAA and .915 SP.
Bernier replaces Calvin Pickard, who was picked up by the Vegas Golden Knights in last month’s expansion draft.
Pickard has a $1 million cap hit for 2017-18, so the Avs will pay $1.75 million more for Semyon Varlamov’s backup.
“We just wanted to make sure we have an experienced backup that can compete with Varly and be there for a good one-two punch,” Sakic said. “We don’t want Varly playing much more than 50 games. And Jonathan played almost 40 games last year for Anaheim, so we know he can do it.”
After adding Wilson and Bernier, Colorado is approximately $13.5 million under the salary cap.
Footnote. The Avalanche also agreed to terms with minor-league free agents Andrew Agozzino, defenseman David Warsofsky and goaltender Joe Cannata.
The Avalanche acquired forward Colin Wilson from the Nashville Predators for a 2019 fourth-round draft pick. Wilson has a $4 million annual salary for the next two seasons.