DENVER (KDVR) — It’s been more than a dozen seasons that defenseman Erik Johnson has called the Colorado Avalanche home, but now he has a new one.

The 35-year-old signed a one-year contract with the Buffalo Sabres hours after he officially became an unrestricted free agent.

Johnson, who was the first overall pick in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft by the St. Louis Blues, played three seasons with his draft team before being traded midseason in 2011 to Colorado.

The longest-tenured Avalanche player won a Stanley Cup in 2022 with the team, but unfortunately suffered several injuries, some keeping him off the ice for long stints, during his time with Colorado.

The Avalanche will need to replace his size and grit on the blue line and his leadership in the locker room.

Who else left the Avalanche

The Avalanche lost forward J.T. Compher to free agency as he signed a five-year deal with the Detroit Red Wings worth $25.5 million on Saturday.

Forwards Lars Eller and Matt Nieto are headed to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Both signed two-year contracts.

Defenseman Josh Jacobs went to the Blues and forward Mikhail Maltsev went to the Los Angeles Kings. Both signed one-year, two-way contracts with their teams.

Avs re-sign 2, pick up 2

While some will leave, others will stay. The Avalanche re-signed defenseman Bowen Byram for another two years and forward Andrew Cogliano for another year.

The team added to its depth pool by acquiring forwards Miles Wood from the New Jersey Devils and Jonathon Drouin from the Montreal Canadiens.