Daily Camera (Boulder)

Avalanche quiet on open­ing day

Colorado signs just four mi­nor-league for­wards on Day 1

- By Mike Cham­bers Sports · College Sports · NHL Hockey · Ice Hockey · National Hockey League · Taylor Hall · Colorado · Alex Pietrangelo · Calgary · Matt Murray · Ottawa · Nashville Predators · Nashville · Milwaukee · St. Louis Blues · Sheldon Dries · Kiefer Sherwood · American Hockey League · Milwaukee Admirals · Anaheim Ducks · San Diego Gulls · Union College · San Antonio Rampage · Colorado Eagles

Day 1 of NHL free agency Fri­day was un­event­ful for Avalanche fans.

The Avalanche — be­lieved to be in the hunt for top free-agent for­ward Tay­lor Hall, a gritty depth for­ward and per­haps a proven goalie — only made mod­est mi­nor-league sign­ings Fri­day. But Colorado still has a chance to ac­quire NHL dif­fer­ence-mak­ers on Satur­day or beyond, as just two of TSN’S top-10 free agents were signed as of Fri­day night.

Hall, the 2018 Hart Tro­phy win­ner, is No. 2 on that list be­hind de­fense­man Alex Pi­etrangelo, the St. Louis Blues cap­tain who is ru­mored to have spo­ken with the Avs. Gritty depth for­wards Matt Martin and Kyle Clifford are also avail­able, among a hand­ful of oth­ers.

Of­fers might have been made Fri­day, with play­ers hav­ing un­til Satur­day or Sun­day to re­spond.

Clearly, the COVID-19 cri­sis has changed the free-agent cli­mate, with teams less likely to of­fer big money, long-term deals. The Cal­gary Flames’ six-year, $36 mil­lion sign­ing of goalie Ja­cob Mark­strom was the only freeagent con­tract longer than three years and $10 mil­lion, al­though Matt Mur­ray signed a four-year, $25 mil­lion ex­ten­sion with Ot­tawa.

The Avs on Fri­day re-signed re­stricted free-agent depth for­ward Shel­don Dries to a one-year con­tract and also added for­wards Mi­ikka Salo­maki, Kiefer Sher­wood and Mike Vec­chione to one-year deals.

All four will prob­a­bly be­gin next sea­son with the AHL’S Colorado Ea­gles. Dries, 26, played 50 of his 55 reg­u­larsea­son games with the Ea­gles last sea­son.

Salo­maki, 27, comes from the Nashville Preda­tors’ or­ga­ni­za­tion, play­ing 41 games for the AHL’S Mil­wau­kee Ad­mi­rals last sea­son. Sher­wood, 25, split last sea­son with the Ana­heim Ducks and the AHL’S San Diego Gulls. Vec­chione, 27, who has played just two ca­reer NHL games since grad­u­at­ing from Union Col­lege in 2017, spent time with the AHL’S San An­to­nio Ram­page last sea­son.

 ?? Tom Pen­ning­ton / Getty Im­ages ?? Blues cap­tain Alex Pi­etrangelo, cen­ter, is one of the NHL’S top free agents ru­mored to have spo­ken re­cently with the Avalanche.
Tom Pen­ning­ton / Getty Im­ages Blues cap­tain Alex Pi­etrangelo, cen­ter, is one of the NHL’S top free agents ru­mored to have spo­ken re­cently with the Avalanche.

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