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NHL Rumours: Colorado Avalanche UFA Forward Set to Discuss Deal

NHL Rumours

It’s time for another edition of NHL rumours. We’re nearing the end of the 2023-24 season, but preparations for the 2024-25 campaign are well underway. Teams not involved in the 2024 NHL Stanley Cup Final are working hard to get a jumpstart on their rosters. Many of these clubs are trying to make sure their free agents don’t hit the open market. However, it may be harder for some players than others to get signed before July 1. Today’s NHL rumours focuses on the Colorado Avalanche trying to re-sign one of their key forwards.

All NHL rumours come from the original source and are subject to change.

NHL Rumours

Colorado Avalanche In Talks to Bring Back UFA Forward

Rumour: Corey Masiak of The Denver Post reported that Avalanche and pending unrestricted free agent forward Jonathan Drouin are set for talks on a new contract.

Analysis: Drouin has revived his career in Denver with the Avalanche. He had some struggled with the Montreal Canadiens, but has found his way coming to the perennial Western Conference contender. The 29-year-old scored 19 goals, which was the most since the 2016-17 season with the Tampa Bay Lightning when he netted 21.

Injuries followed the former third overall pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft during his stint with the Habs. He played six seasons in La Belle Province but he had never played more than 60 games since 2018-19. That is until this year with the Avalanche. Colorado General Manager Chris MacFarland took a chance on the former Halifax Mooseheads standout and it paid off. Drouin reunited with junior teammate Nathan MacKinnon and it worked wonders for the Avs. Johnston cited Drouin’s vision and playmaking skills as a reason why teams would be interested in him should he hit the open market.

The injury troubles also seem to be behind him according to Johnston. No one can predict the future, but Drouin managed to only miss three regular-season and games. He also played through some issues that saw him miss time in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Talking Deal

Drouin’s agent Allan Walsh confirmed to the Denver Post that the two sides were going to have contract talks soon. The Athletic’s Chris Johnston has Drouin ranked in the top 30 in his list of pending free agents. Walsh stated that his client loved the fit with the Avalanche and was treated well in Denver.

The interest seems to be mutual as MacFarland and Colorado Head Coach Jared Bednar both raved about having Drouin on the team. They both said they would love to have the Sainte-Agathe, Quebec native return to the Rocky Mountains. Drouin recorded a career-high 56 points, but also played well on the defensive end. Bednar began to give the forward more responsibilities and he flourished with the Avs.

It seems that a return to the Avalanche on his next deal is a logical next step. However, contract negotiations are rarely a simple process.

The Money Game

There are a few things that could be preventing a long-term deal for Drouin. A couple of uncertainties are clouding the possibility of a lengthy contract and one of them is the status of Valeri Nichushkin. The Russian is suspended for the start of the season as he’s back in the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program.

Colorado’s injury list is also playing a hand on what the club might be able to give Drouin. Both Gabriel Landeskog and Artturi Lehkonen are recovering from injuries. This might complicated things if one or both of them are ready to return to the lineup next season.

MacFarland would love to give Drouin a decent-sized deal with a dollar value near market value. However, those other factors could hamstring giving Drouin everything he wants.

Walsh did say that he respects the Avalanche and MacFarland. The agent cited his creativity and thinks a deal could happen to keep his client with Colorado before he hits the open market on July 1.

Main photo by: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports


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