The Colorado Avalanche landed one of the pool worthy UFA defensemen on Sunday, signing Ian Cole to a new 3-year, $12.75 million deal. Cole has been bouncing around a little bit in recent years, but has now found himself a good home with the Avalanche, who are starting to shore up their back end a little bit more, one of the spots they really had to focus on in this off-season.
Cole split last season between the Penguins and the Blue Jackets, playing in 67 games, scoring 5 goals and 20 points, good enough for 98th among all defensemen, just inside of the top 100.
The Avalanche blueline is starting to get a good mix of veterans and young stars, to which Cole should slide right in seamlessly. He won't carry a great deal of the load, with Tyson Barrie still doing much of that on a day-to-day basis, but Cole will be a good second pairing guy and could certainly help kids like Nikita Zadorov and Samuel Girard.
|Nathan MacKinnon||6.300||Erik Johnson||6.000||Semyon Varlamov||5.900|
|Gabriel Landeskog||5.500||Tyson Barrie||5.500||Philipp Grubauer||3.333|
|Carl Soderberg||4.750||Ian Cole||4.250|
|Colin Wilson||3.938||Nikita Zadorov||2.100|
|Matt Calvert||2.800||Mark Barberio||1.450|
|Sven Andrighetto||1.400||Samuel Girard||0.728|
|Gabriel Bourque||0.950||David Warsofsky||0.650|
The current 23-man roster above, projected for the 2019 season, is rounding out quite well and is coming in, well under budget. I currently have the Avs with $15.3 million in extra cap space, heading into day two of the free agency period. This is already an exciting team and if they can start putting a couple more key free agents in the squad, they could make a real run at a playoff spot next season.