Avalanche Sign Leopold, Sauer, Finger and Jones - Colorado Avalanche Updates, News and Game Reviews at Avs Talk

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Avalanche Sign Leopold, Sauer, Finger and Jones

The Avalanche had a brief spurt of activity Monday as they re-signed Jordan Leopold, Kurt Sauer and Jeff Finger to new contracts. They also signed prospect David Jones to a contract. So if you're counting, and who isn't, that's 7 d-men signed with two of those being on two-way contracts (Finger and Cumiskey). So it's looking like the defensive core is near wrapped up and not too different from last year.

Leopold signed a two-year deal worth $1.5m per season. That's a pretty reasonable amount if he stays healthy and plays to the level that is expected of him. The only troubling thing is that his injuries were in the groin area which are often tough to really get rid of and can bother players throughtout their careers. Given that both he and the Avalanche organization showed each other same faith, I'd say that the doctors are confident with his situation.

Sauer signed a one-year extension worth a little over $700k. If he continues to improve the way he did towards the end of the year, that may end up a steal. I have no trouble believing he can up his play on the defensive side of things. I tend to hold my breath when he gets a hold of the puck. Particularly in the Avalanche zone. I was at the ill-fated Edmonton game during the playoff push where his giveaway led to the tying goal. I'm a pessimistic optimist on his abilities.

Jeff Finger signed a two-way contract that will pay him $475k if he stays with the Avalanche. I pat Giguere on the back for getting that one done so cheaply. Finger wouldn't have a ton of leverage to negotiate anything much above league-minimum but he certainly showed heart and determination during his time with the team this year. Every game I found myself noting Finger finishing checks and showing a good hard-working attitude.

Yar, good ol' Davy Jones be a solid prospect. I was going to finish this whole paragraph in pirate speak but I just couldn't do it. I admittedly didn't know who David Jones was until the Avalanche signed him this week. I'm sure I've heard his name before since he was nominated for the Hobey Baker. It just isn't a name that stuck with me. If only he had some sort of hook with his name. He was selected in the 8th round (288th overall) by the Avalanche and looks to be worth much more than that. He posted 44 points in 33 games with Dartmouth and was the Ivy League Player of the Year. Ok, so the Ivy leagues aren't noted for churning out a lot of hockey sensations but you still have to give that some recognition.

Without taking into account the possibility that a fellow such as Sauer was signed so he could be traded, the lines looking something like this:

We could banter all day about what the lines combos should be and nobody will really know until the season gets under way and you can see how the players respond to each other. If they ended up like this at the end of the day, I wouldn't be too disappointed. It would be great if we could see a name like Hannan or Preissing inserted somewhere but it's all conjecture at this point.

But conjecture is fun so let's go. The Avalanche still lack a true #1 d-man as neither Liles or Leopold are at that point in their careers. And Liles will likely never fill that role. Leopold has an outside shot at it. The top 3 guys I would like to get would be: Timonen, Hannan or Preissing. In that order as well. If pressed for a fourth, I'd say Danny Markov.

Nashville may have problems signing Timmonen as they are already at $33 million with only 13 players on the roster. He'll likely get over $4 million as he's a pretty experienced player who seems to improve every year.

San Jose already have 4 top-four d-men under contract (McLaren, Carle, Vlasic, Erhoff), but they do have a decent amount of cap space left. With indications of changes in the wind though, it's a tough call to say just what San Jose will do.

Ottawa will almost certainly let Preissing go though I bet it will hurt to do. They have Redden, Corvo, Philips, Volchenkov and Meszaros signed on with 4 of those at a cap hit of greater than $2 million. They don't have much to change up front though so if they could get rid of Gerber somehow, that would make room for them to lock up Preissing and fill out the rest of their team. And if they plan on getting rid of Redden at the end of this year or sooner, then they could give Preissing a multi-year deal and end up with an extremely solid backend for the next 3 years.

Apologies on the slightly lengthy Ottawa portion but I am Canadian after all.


Jibblescribbits said...

Welcome Back!!!

Mike Thompson said...


Shane Giroux said...

It's tough to find time in the summer to put adequate thought in while your team is on the links :)

I had a whole paragraph on who I wanted them to get which I scrapped b/c it felt too rambly. One of the people I wanted was Markov but expected to Montreal to re-sign him, which they just did.

Hopefully the Souray rumours are untrue but I can't see Montreal signing him anymore so he's going somewhere.

Jibblescribbits said...

It is a little early for an offseason overview, even though with the Theo stories and now Forsberg rumors it's hard not to get caught up. Still i try to wait until the Cup finals are done.

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