While Sakic has been signing one-year deals for several seasons now, the possibility that he was going to retire was never imminent. He has said numerous times that he would like to play in the 2010 Oylmpics and after a 100-point 06-07 season, there were no signs of him slowing down.
All that changed last year when Joe missed 38 games (a career high) with a hernia injury. Suddenly, on a team that doesn't seem to be a Stanley Cup favorite, Sakic, who will be turning 39 on July 7th, now needs to decide whether or not he wants to help bring about a youth movement for Colorado or if it's time he hangs up his skates and lets Paul Stastny take over the #1 center spot.
However, Sakic will not make this decision by July 1st, the start of free agency.
Joe Sakic has further extended the time he needs to decide whether to return to the Avalanche — and it could hamper the team's free-agency spending plans.
Sakic "definitely will not decide by July 1," Avalanche vice president Jean Martineau said Monday night. That is the date when NHL players can become free agents.
The Avalanche is maintaining public support for Sakic, but his indecision could hamstring the team and take it out as a possible player in the free-agent market.
As the article points out, it's going to be tough for the Avs to address most of their needs without knowing whether or not they will need an extra 6 million to sign Sakic.
According to a lack of sources, Andrew Brunette isn't being talked to by Francois Giguere while Marek Svatos and Wojtek Wolski still haven't sign qualifying offers. Jose Theodore is entering free agency on July 1st and the same might be true for John-Michael Liles, Jeff Finger, Adam Foote, and Kurt Sauer.
This team could and probably will be left with considerable holes to fill. Knowing how free agency works in the NHL, you'll see the good ones scooped up in just a few hours on the first day. If the Avs can't sign a top foward to help possibly replace Brunette or a good stay-at-home defenseman to replace Finger or Foote, then there will be serious trouble next season.
That being said, no one in the game has earned the right to time more than Joe Sakic. What he has done for this franchise is unmatched by any active player. However, if he is interested in making sure the Avalanche remain competitive for years to come, he'll make his decision by July 1st and save Giguere the many sleepless nights.