The NHL currently has a lot of uncertainty shrouding the upcoming season. One thing that is absolutely clear, however, is that the Colorado Avalanche want to have Jean-Sebastien Giguere in their lineup for at least one more season.
In a somewhat surprising move on Monday, RDS reported the Colorado Avalanche gave backup goalie J.S. Giguere a one-year extension to keep the veteran in Denver through the 2013-2014 NHL season (per TSN).
According to CapGeek.com, the one-year extension is for $1.5 million and includes a no-movement clause.
This move isn't a surprise in the sense that people wouldn't understand why the Avalanche would bother re-signing Giguere—quite the opposite. Giguere was amazing for Colorado last season and a stabilizing force in the locker room.
The surprise is mostly because the Colorado Avalanche almost never grant extensions to players before their contract time is up.
It would have been easy for Greg Sherman and the Avalanche front office to extend Matt Duchene earlier in the year, but even a guy who is pegged as one of the cornerstones of the franchise's future was forced to wait until the offseason to get his new deal in place.
So why did this happen now?
First and foremost, it had to be obvious to the Avalanche organization exactly how valuable having a guy like Giguere has been. Not only was he a stalwart backup for the team, he was able to step in when Semyon Varlamov was having issues and put the team back in a position to win games.
In addition, Giguere played a key role in mentoring the much younger Varlamov and helping him bounce back from a rough early part of the season.
Giguere has been both a backup goalie and a goalie coach for Varlamov, a role that he really shouldn't have to play while he is working to keep his own game sharp, but one he has stepped into nonetheless.
Plus, the Avalanche probably wanted to make sure they had Giguere for at least one more season before the impending lockout. The Avalanche wouldn't be able to sign Giguere to another contract during a lockout, so why not just seal the deal before the fact?
All in all, a smart move that makes a lot of sense for the Avalanche. They keep a strong leader around the locker room for at least another year as this young team begins to move up as a contender in the league.
Now all that's left to be accomplished is signing Ryan O'Reilly.