Wild West:  Colorado Avalanche – Organization Review

Grant Campbell


The Avalanche won their third Stanley Cup and their first since 2000-2001, beating Tampa Bay four games to two in the Finals. Cale Makar (23) was the Norris and Conn Smythe Trophy winner which bodes well for Colorado to be back in contention next season.

GM and Coach

Joe Sakic has been GM since just before the 2014-15 season and will be entering his ninth season in 2022-23. The team struggled in his first three years as they missed the playoffs in all of those years, but made the playoffs in each of the past five seasons, culminating in winning it all this year.

Jared Bednar was hired as head coach just before the 2016-17 season in which they went on to finish dead last in the NHL with a record of 22-56-4. His career record in Colorado is now 240-168-46 which is good for a 0.579 winning percentage overall. In the last three seasons, the team is 137-52-19, with a winning percentage of 0.704 and a Stanley Cup. They are at their peak.

Salary Cap

The Avalanche have just over $25.68 million in cap space available to them for the 2022-23 season.

The team has nine or ten UFAs to re-sign or replace including Nazem Kadri (31), Andre Burakovsky (27), Valeri Nichushkin (27) and Darcy Kuemper (32).

Artturi Lehkonen (26) is a restricted free agent.

The team will need to prepare for Nathan McKinnon to become unrestricted at the end of 2022-23, which will be north of $10 million AAV.

They won't be able to retain all of their UFAs this year.

Draft Picks

You can't bring in players like Devon Toews, Darcy Kuemper, Josh Manson and Lehkonen without mortgaging a bit of your future. The Cup win makes it all worthwhile but now they have to pay for it.

In 2022, they only have a third, fifth, sixth and seventh-round pick.

In 2023, they traded their second and fourth-round picks and in 2024, they traded their second, third and fifth-round picks.

Overall the team has 13 of their original 21 picks and four of nine picks in the first three rounds for the next three years.

Free Agents