Avs add F Wil­son, G Bernier

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Mike Cham­bers

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.

Bruce Ben­nett, Getty Images

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.

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