By now, my thoughts about the UFA's have already been made public, but now it's on to the RFA's. Last season, Kevin Lowe shocked the hockey world by offering huge contracts to Thomas Vanek and Dustin Penner.
Offering these kind of contracts to RFA's does one of two things. It either forces the team to sign the player for much more than they planned; therefore, it could have an adverse affect in the future. Or, it steals the player away from his current team in exchange for what usually amounts to draft picks.
Restricted - Player is eligible to sign and receive offer sheets, but current team has chance to match
The Avs are unlikely to have any of their players get hit with big offer sheets. They all have some kind of baggage attached to them which will likely scare some team away.
Lets just be blunt and say it is time to get rid of Johnny Boychuk. This kid has been in Colorado's system since he was drafted in the second round of the 2002 Entry Draft. He's only played four games for the Avalanche - all of them came last year, as a foward. His stats at the AHL level haven't really signed and it's time that the Avs start focusing on their other defensive prospets. (They drafted two more players on Saturday and have a system featuring several promising players).
All of Wolski, Svatos, McCormick, and McLeod should and probably will be signed by the Avalanche.
Wolski and Svatos represent two of the best youngest players on the Avalanche and will only grow from this point foward. Svatos, of course, has run into injury troubles, but he was effective last season.
McCormick and McLeod both played well as energy players last season and add some size and grit to a what is really a very small group of players. Both really be affordable and probably sign for under 1 million.
That leaves Tyler Weinman, who I believe will be retained by the Avalanche and eventually be the backup once Peter Budaj is traded before the start of the season. The market is very shallow for goalies this year and Budaj will bring in a decent return.
After all of these UFA's and RFA's are signed, the Avalanche are still going to have some room to sign a player or two in free agency. I'll try to dig up some rumors that are spreading this week and analyze whether or not they make sense.
Until then, look out for what could be a new layout to The Avslova Factor. More graphics, more pictures, more links, and the same loading times.