With the March trade deadline quickly coming upon us, every NHL team will be looking to do one thing at the deadline: improve their club.
Some clubs will have the luxury of looking for that "missing piece" or that "veteran player" they believe will strengthen their club during the grueling Stanley Cup playoff run.
There are, however, a few teams that will be looking towards next year and will be looking to free themselves of some serious cash.
This makes total sense heading into free agency in July, but for some teams they need the extra cash to sign some of their own players who have had great seasons and who are also RFA's (Restricted Free Agents).
Addition by subtraction: Do you trade vets in the last year of their contracts to free cash for the up-and-coming kids?
Do you add another salary and support their great season moving towards the Stanley Cup Playoffs? Do you trade a RFA who is having a great season to add those missing pieces? Maybe you do nothing.
This is why NHL GM's make the big coin, isin't?
Colorado has had a solid run so far this season. Regardless if they make any noise in the Stanley Cup chase, they have done very well and they should be applauded. With success comes big contracts.
Before this season, Chris Stewart, 21 year old RW, was on pace to join his older brother as a first-round draft choice flop. To his credit, and opportunity given to him by his former AHL coach and current NHL coach, Joe Sacco, Chris excelled and is enjoying a very good season.
I'm sure everyone had Stewart high on their hockey fantasy draft list last September. Although only one season, Stewart could cash in. Currently earning 850G's, Stewart could possibly make some where near the 2.0-2.2M range and depending on the term of any deal be an Avalanche for quite some time.
Kyle Quincey has established himself as a solid, puck moving D-man and with his current contract up at seasons end could also command a good pay raise. Quincey currently earns just over 500G and his contract could be massive.
Not only has Quincey had a solid season to date, but Kyle played extremely well since coming over to LA last season on waivers and eventually traded to the Avs in the Ryan Smyth deal. I would expect Quincey to earn near 2.5-3.0M next season.
Rookie Brandon Yip is another great story, if he continues his play he will also be looking to upgrade his 725G salary.
Veteran Wotjek Wolski is also due for a raise and at 3.1M could be looking for a longer term then increase in pay, but is likely headed towards 3.5-4.0M money. Wolski is only 23 years old.
Veteran Darcy Tucker could be in play on March 3, he is in the final year of his contract earning 2.3M.
With Paul Stastny, Matt Duchene and Ryan O'Reilly still on longer term deals, Av's GM Greg Sherman will need to address these issues in July but might already have to address them now as the March 3 trade deadline is quickly approaching.
Add the strong play of goaltender Craig Anderson, who only signed a two year deal and the future looks good, but could be really expensive.
The Av's are in good position, cap wise with over 7M available. It will be interesting to see what direction they will take. Now matter what that future is, right now it is looking very good.