Did the Avs quietly sign a possible Nazem Kadri replacement?
The Colorado Avalanche will be without a dynamo this coming season, as Nazem Kadri signed a free agent deal with the Calgary Flames.
Kadri, the team’s second-line center, was an All-Star this past season and scored 58 goals and added 97 assists in 178 games over three seasons. But the Avs were priced out of his seven-year $49 million price point. Colorado has already signed Evan Rodrigues to help fill the gap and have incumbents Alex Newhook and J.T. Compher, who could be elevated into the role, or Mikko Rantanen could slide over to center.
Now the Avs may have another option, or at the very least, depth. On Tuesday, Peter Baugh of The Athletic reported Colorado signed Alex Galchenyuk to a professional tryout contract. The news was buried by the massive contract extension for Nathan MacKinnon, which was also signed on Tuesday.
Galchenyuk, a former third overall pick, is a 10-year NHL veteran who never has reached his potential. The 28-year-old American has bounced between six teams, most recently getting a second-stint in Arizona last season. The left-handed center was held to just 21 points in 60 games.
The former top pick of the Canadians had two separate 50-point seasons for Montreal, including a 30-goal 2015-16.
Could Galchenyuk go from tryout to a key Avs player? Colorado has done it before, with a younger Valeri Nichushkin, and have done it to a lesser extent with elder players, getting good value out of Ryan Murray. Speaking of, Murray was selected just before Galchenyuk in the 2013 NHL Draft, both behind the first pick Nail Yakupov. All three have spent time with the Avs.
Galchenyuk is unlikely to be a true Kadri replacement. Still, if he does crack the roster, he may take pressure off Rodrigues, Newhook and Compher, who are all expected to replicate career years or even build off them.
The Avalanche have signed Alex Galchenyuk to a PTO pic.twitter.com/2ABOE5p0uv
— JFresh (@JFreshHockey) September 20, 2022
The Avs begin camp and their title defense on Thursday.