About an hour after losing Paul Stastny to the division rival St. Louis Blues via free agency, the Avalanche turned some of the frowns of their fans upside down by signing unrestricted free agent Jarome Iginla from the Boston Bruins.
A likely future Hall of Famer who turned 37 on Tuesday, Iginla scored 31 goals for the Bruins last season to lead the team. In 1,310 career games, Iginla has 560 goals, 607 assists and 1,167 points with Calgary, Pittsburgh and Boston. He has scored 30 or more goals 12 times, including two seasons of 50 or more.
Iginla agree to a three-year, $16 million contract.
The Avs plan to play Iginla at right wing on a top line, one of which is likely to be centered by Nathan MacKinnon or Matt Duchene. With the loss to the Blues of Stastny, who signed a four-year, $28 million contract, the Avs are likely to move MacKinnon back to his natural center position. Iginla would anchor the right side, possibly on a line with two of the last three Calder Trophy winners — MacKinnon and Gabe Landeskog.
The chance at playing with such strong young players was a strong factor in Iginla choosing Colorado over several other suitors. That, and the three-year term the Avs agree to give him, which would put him playing close to his 40th birthday.
Iginla may have lost a step in the last couple of seasons, but he still has a great shot and finisher's touch around the net, and he is big and physical. He should help the Avs power play immensely. He is a former linemate of Avs executive vice president of hockey operations Joe Sakic with Team Canada in the Olympics. The pair were instrumental in helping Canada to the gold medal in 2002, and are great friends.
Earlier updates to the first day of NHL free agency are below.
Stastny heads to St. Louis for more money
Paul Stastny's days with the Avalanche are officially over.
The St. Louis Blues lured Stastny away Tuesday morning with a four-year, $28 million contract — a raise more than the $6.6 million he made in each of the previous five seasons with Colorado.
The Blues announced the signing on their website.
Stastny's loss is a blow to the Avs, but they may reach out to others in the free-agent market to try to make up for his lost production.
Avs bolster defensive ranks
The Avs also signed free-agent center Jesse Winchester Tuesday to a two-year, $1.8 million contract.
Winchester, 30, played 52 games for the Florida Panthers last season, scoring nine goals and 18 points. He is considered a good defensive player, with some size at 6-foot-1, 200 pounds.
Avs acquire Brad Stuart from San Jose for draft picks
The former Sharks captain and Detroit bruiser always seemed to be in Colorado's way.
He's the one who pretty much ruined Gabe Landeskog's season in 2013, the lockout-shortened year, when he stepped up on the Avs captain in the neutral zone with a massive hit in San Jose.
Stuart, selected No. 3 overall in 1998, is 34 and has a lot of miles on his 220-pound frame. Yet the Avs gave up second (2016) and sixth (2017)-round draft picks for him, despite Stuart only having one year remaining on a $3.6 million annual deal before he's a potential unrestricted free agent.
"The acquisition of Brad helps strengthen our blue line," said Joe Sakic, the Avalanche's Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations . "He is a proven, quality defenseman and his addition will help our team."
The Avs improved their blue-line depth by adding unrestricted free agents Bruno Gervais and Zach Redmond, both right-handed shooters. Gervais, 29, comes from the Philadelphia Flyers' organization, where he played in the minors last season. Redmond, 25, split time with the Winnipeg Jets and their AHL affiliate last season. Redmond signed a two-year deal paying him $750,000 annually. Gervais' salary was not immediately available.