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Jonathan Drouin: he may have to sign at a discount if he wants to stay in Colorado
Credit: Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images
In my last text, I talked about two very important situations currently facing the Colorado Avalanche, which were addressed this morning at a press conference.

Team captain Gabriel Landeskog and general manager Chris MacFarland addressed the media and answered questions for over 40 minutes.

First came the news that Landeskog was not retiring and was aiming for a return to action between September and November 2024, and then came the news that Valeri Nichushkin could very well return to action next season.

In short, the Avalanche had some big news this morning.

But those weren’t the only two issues discussed at this morning’s press conference.

Chris MacFarland also spoke for a few minutes at the end of his conference about the contractual situation of Jonathan Drouin, who could become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

The Avalanche GM stated that, at present, it would not be a problem to come to an agreement with Drouin, and that he will clearly be in contact with the Quebecer’s camp in the coming weeks.

On the face of it, this is positive and reassuring news for Drouin , who clearly wants to sign a new contract in Colorado.

The problem for the former Montreal Canadien is that the Avalanche don’t have a lot of room on their payroll, especially if Valeri Nichushkin and Gabriel Landeskog return next season.

Currently, the Avalanche have around $16 million available under the salary cap, with Nichushkin currently taking $0 on the payroll, due to his six-month suspension without pay.

Should he return to action after this suspension, just over $6 million will be added to Colorado’s payroll.

So, if the Avalanche want to keep some room under the cap in case Nichushkin AND Landeskog return, well, MacFarland will have to supplement his team with around $10M.

With only seven forwards (excluding Landeskog and Nichushkin) under contract for next season, and four defensemen, MacFarland will have to sign several players to contracts with fairly low annual salaries.

So, getting back to Drouin, if he wants to return to the Avalanche next season, he’ll most likely have to sign at a discount.

That’s when we’ll see if the Quebecer absolutely wants to return to the Avalanche or if he prefers to test the free agent market.

MacFarland will certainly play this summer with the 10% allocated above the salary cap during the off-season in order to complete his team, which must also try to re-sign its big trade deadline acquisition, Casey Mittlestadt, who is a restricted free agent.

In short, the situation in Colorado is one to watch, and will be next summer too, when Mikko Rantanen could become a free agent.

He has one year left on his contract at $9.25 million a year, and will clearly be asking for a salary increase.

Perhaps MacFarland will try to sign him to a contract extension now.

In a gust

– Habs veteran Artturi Lehkonen will undergo shoulder surgery in the coming weeks.

– Nikita Zadorov really has a way with words.

– Quite a defenseman, Evan Bouchard. He’ll be one to watch tonight in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals.

– Does Matt Rempe still belong in the Rangers lineup against the Panthers?

– Of note.

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