Goodbye to Some Old Friends

Player movement season is winding down and the Avs 20-21 roster has taken shape. It’s time to say goodbye to a few players that won’t be back and wish them well. There are more than one would think with 17 players leaving the organization at this point. Let’s get to it.

Nikita Zadorov
Tenure: 5  years
Acquired: Trade with Buffalo 2015 (O’Reilly Trade Tree)
Avs Career: 289 games (reg season), 18G, 41A. 33 playoff games, 4G/4A
Leaving: Traded to Chicago with Anton Lindholm for Brendan Saad and Dennis Gilbert

Big Z is the Avs highest profile loss and will be tough to replace in many respects. On the ice he became one of the league’s most prolific hitters and a key to the Avs controlling the neutral zone. Off the ice he was a fan favorite and a big personality.

Anton Lindholm
Tenure: 6 years
Acquired: Drafted in 2014 Round 5
Avs Career: 66 games, 5 assists
Leaving: Traded to Chicago

Lindholm was mainly an AHL player with 168 games with the Rampage/Eagles in his 4 years as a North American pro. While his play was frustrating at times he did develop into a good leadership veteran in Loveland.

AJ Greer
Tenure: 5 years
Acquired: Drafted 2015 Round 2 with a pick from San Jose (O’Reilly Trade Tree)
Avs Career: 37 games, 1G/5A
Leaving: Traded to the Islanders for Kyle Burroughs

Greer’s career with Colorado was marked with questions both on and off the ice. A big power forward, he was never able to graduate to the NHL and ended up playing 203 games for San Antonio/Colorado in the A. It will be interesting to see how the Isles use him.

Matt Nieto
Tenure: 4 years
Acquired: Claimed off waivers from San Jose in January of 2017
Avs Career: 251 games (reg season), 34G/47A. 32 playoff games, 5G/8A
Leaving: Signed by San Jose for next year

Nieto was claimed in the darkest days of the lost season and carved out a niche as a journeyman bottom 6er/PK specialist. His speed and defensive play were a good fit but both seemed to be on the decline this year.

Mark Barberio
Tenure: 4 years
Acquired: Claimed off waivers from Montreal February 2017
Avs Career: 113 games (reg season) 6G/19A, 6 playoff games, 1 assist
Leaving: Signed to Lausanne of the Swiss League

Barbs was a jolt of good news after coming over from the Habs during the lost season and settled into a 7th D role the next season. After that injuries and decline limited his role and eventually he didn’t play at all. In Lausanne he’s the captain and scoring almost a point per game so good to see him bounce back.

Vlad Kamenev
Tenure: 3 years
Acquired: Trade from Nashville in November 2017 (Duchene Trade Tree)
Avs Career: 64 games, 3G/10A
Leaving: Signed by SKA St Petersburg of the KHL, Avs retain NA rights

Kamenev is still on the Avs reserve list but for now this chapter of his Avs career is over. Gruesome injuries in his first two seasons with the club made it extremely difficult for him to settle into a role. Finally healthy this year he just wasn’t a good fit. Has 3 points in 4 games with SKA so like Barbs it’s good to see him doing well elsewhere.

Colin Wilson
Tenure: 3 years
Acquired: Trade from Nashville July 2017
Avs Career: 130 games (reg season), 18G/31A. 18 playoff games, 4G/5A
Leaving: ???

Willie hasn’t signed anywhere but won’t be back with Colorado. Injuries limited his time significantly in his first two seasons then was shut down for the duration in November last year after 9 games. I didn’t like this trade when it happened but warmed up to it slightly as time went on. We only got glimpses of his capabilities due to durability issues which is a shame.

Kevin Connauton
Tenure: 1 year
Acquired: Trade from Arizona for Carl Soderberg (Ryan Smyth Trade Tree)
Avs Career: 4 games, no points in regular season. 4 playoff games, 1 assist
Leaving: ???

Connauton got a puck in the face in pre-pre-season last year and suffered a broken jaw. Didn’t really get going until months later and eventually replaced Barberio as the 7th defenseman.

Vlad Namestnikov
Tenure: Rental
Acquired: Traded from Ottawa February 2020 for a 2021 4th rounder
Avs Career: 9 games, 4G/2A in regular season. 12 playoff games, 4G/1A
Leaving: Signed by detroit for next year

Traded twice last year, spent the bulk of the season in Ottawa before the Avs picked him up for the playoff run. At the time Colorado was decimated by forward injuries and he played well in the top 6. With a healthy team entering the playoffs his role was reduced and he wasn’t effective. Mack destroyed him on a faceoff and he missed time with that before returning and scoring 2 goals in the final game. Nice guy to have but not a long term fit.

Michael Hutchinson
Tenure: Rental
Acquired: Traded from Toronto for Calle Rosen (Barrie Trade Tree)
Avs Career: Played once in the regular season, beat detroit. 4 games in playoffs, won games 5&6 vs Dallas
Leaving: ???

Who knew in February that the Avs playoff lives would sit on Hutchinson’s glove as their 3rd goalie. Relieved Francouz in game 4 after his hip gave out then proceeded to help win the next 2 games. Game 7, nah. Got it to OT though.

Mark Alt
Tenure: 3 years
Acquired: Claimed off waivers from Philadelphia February 2018
Avs Career: 9 games, no points
Leaving: Signed by LA for next year

While his Avs career isn’t memorable he was the first captain for the Eagles in the AHL. Played 120 games in Loveland with 34 points on the board.

Antoine Bibeau
Tenure: 1 year, sort of
Acquired: Traded from San Jose for Nic Meloche September 2019
Avs Career: 2 games, 1 start and 1 win
Leaving: ???

Bibeau was injured when the Avs acquired him, perhaps they knew this. No one has said. He played a couple games for the Eagles to open their season and got shut down then magically appeared on the Avs when both Grubauer and Francouz were out with injuries. Made a relief appearance for Adam Werner against Edmonton then started the next game in Vancouver, and won. After that he was shut down permanently and disappeared off any of the org’s rosters.

Igor Shvyryev
Tenure: 3 years
Acquired: Drafted 2017 Round 5
Avs Career: no NHL games
Leaving: Signed with Magnitogorsk of the KHL

Igor was a good gamble. He has talent but I think the language barrier really hampered his growth while in North America. I didn’t see much progression in his 2 years with the Eagles and the Avs player personnel department seems to agree. Career stats in the AHL are 106 games, 12G/10A.

Brandon Saigeon
Tenure: 2 years
Acquired: Drafted 2018 Round 5
Avs Career: Unsigned
Leaving: ???

Drafted as a 20 year old, the Avs sent him back for an overage year in the OHL then signed him to an AHL contract last season, which he spent entirely in the ECHL. The whole situation was dumb, neither side got anything out of it and arguably it hurt Saigeon fairly badly. I don’t like this strategy at all and hopefully they’ve abandoned it after doing something similar last year with Luka Burzan.

Petr Kvaca
Tenure: 3 years?
Acquired: Drafted 4th Round 2017 with pick from NYR (Nick Holden)
Avs Career: Unsigned
Leaving: Signed by Bili Tygri Liberec of the Czech league

It’s entirely possible that Kvaca’s rights expired a year ago, in fact I’m pretty sure they did, but we never got to say goodbye. He attended a couple of development camps for the Avs but never showed progression towards the NHL.

Cam Morrison
Tenure: 4 years
Acquired: 2016 Draft Round 2, pick was the Avs but they had to trade with San Jose to get it back after the awful Brad Stuart deal (O’Reilly Trade Tree)
Avs Career: Unsigned
Leaving: Signed by the Blackhawks

The Avs were ready to sign Morrison a year ago but he stayed in school and completed a college career that was on a fairly steady decline. As far as we know no offer before he became a free agent and caught on with the Hawks.

Denis Smirnov
Tenure: 3 years
Acquired: Drafted 2017 Round 6, like Morrison this was the Avs pick but had to be re-acquired from San Jose (O’Reilly Trade Tree)
Avs Career: Unsigned
Leaving: ???

Drafted as a 20 year old after a red hot freshman year at Penn State, Smirnov never matched those numbers and like Morrison had a declining college career. Avs did not make him an offer this summer.

Some notes on the trade trees

We lost 4 members of the Ryan O’Reilly trade tree: Z, Greer, Morrison & Smirnov. At the time it was Z, Compher, Grigorenko and a 2nd, which eventually turned into Greer, Morrison & Smirnov. At present, the assets still under control are Compher, Saad, Gilbert and Burroughs so still alive and well after 5 years. Taking Jamie McGinn into consideration this tree’s roots actually go back to 2006 when the Avs traded George Parros to the Ducks for a pick that became TJ Galiardi, who was traded to the Sharks for McGinn in 2012.

The Duchene trade tree is also quite healthy despite losing only it’s 2nd member, and he’s not even lost as far as rights go. In a little over 2 weeks this trade will be 3 years old and the Avs still have Girard, Byram, Bowers, Annunen plus the rights to Kamenev, Stienburg and Zhuravlyov. Missing only is Andrew Hammond.

Kevin Connauton was part of the Ryan Smyth trade tree, which is also still relatively healthy after all these years. Smyth was traded to LA for Kyle Quincy and some other stuff in 2009. A few years later at the deadline, Quincy was part of a 3-way deal that brought Steve Downie to the Avs (and the pick that became Andre Vasilevskiy to the Bolts, yikes). Downie was traded to Philly for Max Talbot in 2013. Talbot went to the Bruins at the deadline in 2015 for Jordan Caron and a 6th round pick that the Avs later traded back to Boston for Carl Soderberg. Carl was traded to Arizona for Connauton and a 3rd that ended up part of the Burakovsky deal. So in 11 years we’ve turned Captain Canada into Burky, that’s pretty fun.

Also fun to note that the 4th round pick the Avs traded to Nashville for Colin Wilson was used to draft Cale Makar’s defensive partner at UMass, Marc del Gaizo.

♠     ♠     ♠

Aggregate losses to the org:

Tenure – 50 years, or right around 3 per player
NHL games experience (with Colorado) – 975 regular season, 109 playoff
NHL Goals/Assists – 84G/160A

7 of these players were acquired by trade
7 were drafted by the Avs
3 were waiver claims
none were initially signed as UFAs although there were some extensions in here

8 players leaving as expiring UFAs
3 players via trade
4 were unsigned reserve list players
1 leaving as RFA with rights held
then whatever happened with Igor, I assume he was bought out

9 forwards
5 defensemen
3 goalies

So there we have it. 17 players gone, some important, some less so. At some time or other all of them gained our praise or recognition from Zadorov’s gigantic hits all the way down to Denis Smirnov translating for Andrei Mironov at Dev Camp.

Personally, it’s going to take a while to miss some of these guys but I will. I’ll miss Z’s infectious personality and his wild taste in clothes. I’ll miss the Long Beach meme and Igor’s smile. I’ll miss Greer going haywire, both good and bad, and Mark Alt taking ceremonial faceoffs at BEC. I’ll miss Barbs’ incredible mustache one and a half days into Movember. What about you, dear reader, who will you miss?


Scoring LW, punchy climber for the Ardennes classics, spirit guide

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