Saturday, May 19, 2012

Hejduk Given One Last Chance

The Avalanche could have very easily said "See Ya" to Milan Hejduk. The captain's play took a clear step back last season, as he failed to score at least 20 goals for the first time in twelve seasons. Though the Duke was durable (81 games played), he was a defensive liability (at times) for the first time in a long time and toward the end of year, his minutes were slashed and he spent many shifts on Joe Sacco's fourth line.

The Avs, starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel of their rebuilding phase, could have let the 36-year-old Hejduk retire or offer his services elsewhere.

Instead, they gave him a one-year deal to remain a member of the Avalanche.

As Dater mentions, Hejduk is certainly capable of returning to his 20-goal form again. If nothing else, the signing is a show of good faith to a player that has spent his entire career with Colorado. When Milan Hejduk retires, his will be the last number retired by the Avalanche for a good long while. The man has made his life in Colorado, and he deserves to retire an Av.

The Avalanche have somewhat of a reputation for parting ways with players who force the team to undergo arbitration. (See: Alex Tanguay.) Might this practice scare players away from signing in Colorado?

It shouldn't, because as evidenced by the Hejduk signing, the Avs take care of their own. They remain a classy organization to the end.

Here's hoping to a great last run for Milan Hejduk.

5 months to hockey.

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