DENVER (KDVR) — The Colorado Avalanche have just begun their summerlong celebration after winning the Stanley Cup but the team may look a bit different at the start of next season.
There are nine Avs players that are unrestricted free agents and with a salary cap of $82.5 million, there’s a good chance the organization will have to part ways with a few players.
One player off the table is Andrew Cogliano, who was the first UFA to be re-signed this offseason on Tuesday. He signed a one-year contract for $1.25 million which is $250,000 more than he made last season.
Most notably on the list of remaining UFAs are Darcy Kuemper, Nazem Kadri and Valeri Nichushkin. Now, as Stanley Cup champs, the price tag for any player on the Avalanche has gone up and these three are no exception.
Here is the full list of UFAs and what their salaries were for the 2021-22 season:
Andre Burakovsky: $3.25 million
Darren Helm: $1 million
Nazem Kadri: $4.5 million
Valeri Nichushkin: $2.5 million
Nico Sturm: $725,000
Jack Johnson: $750,000
Ryan Murray: $2 million
Darcy Kuemper: $4.5 million
The cost for the contracted players is $58,065,000 leaving management with $24,435,000 to move around. So the team is limited in locking players into long-term contracts with that amount.
The biggest factor the organization has to take into consideration is Nathan MacKinnon becoming a UFA after next season. That limits the amount they can spend signing other players to long-term contracts in order to have enough to keep MacKinnon in burgundy and blue for a long time.
J.T. Compher and Erik Johnson are also UFAs after next season.
The team also has to take into consideration two restricted free agents that are eligible for arbitration – Nicolas Aube-Kubel and Artturi Lehkonen.
Losing key players to unrestricted free agency is nothing new for Stanley Cup-winning teams. The two-time winning Tampa Bay Lightning didn’t lose any big producers but the St. Louis Blues lost their captain Alex Pietrangelo following their first and only Stanely Cup win in 2019. The Washington Capitals lost Alex Chiasson and Burakovsky after their 2018 win.
As of July 5, Colorado has four picks in the upcoming NHL Draft on Thursday and Friday – one in the third round, one in the fifth round, one in the sixth round and one in the seventh round. But these picks could be changed if moves are made before draft time.