Daily Camera (Boulder)
Avalanche quiet on opening day
Colorado signs just four minor-league forwards on Day 1
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.