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O´Brien´s contract raises questions

O´Brien´s contract raises questionsColorado Avalanche signed a contract with another player, but this time it causes more and more questions.

Shane O'Brien became the seventh and the penultimate defender who signed the contract with the Avalanche for the next season. Management signed excellent contract again. Jan Hejda, Ryan O'Byrne, Stefan Elliott and Tyson Barrie have had their contracts yet before. Gradually, Matt Hunwick, Ryan Wilson and O'Brien have joined them. The last not signed defenseman is Erik Johnson as a leader of the defense. He loves Colorado so his signature is almost certain. In this case the Avalanche would have eight defenders. Only six could play. What happens next?

Everybody knows if there will 8 defensemen available, two of them will not able to play. They would go to the minors in the AHL. Only two of 8 blueliners have two-way contracts – Barrie and Elliott. Now is the first serious question: How will it affect them when they will be "shuttled" between the first and second team? In my opinion, both are now almost ready for the NHL. Both could play at least 50, maybe even 60 games. But in a crowded roster that is impossible. Even if someone from stable six defenders injured, one from the couple will not able to play enough games.

When we move straight to the details we can analyze the extent of damage that can affect both players. They are at the start their careers. If they would be brake in the AHL or in the stands, it could have catastrophic consequences on their further development. Of course, Elliott nor Barrie is ready to be leader No. 1, but I can image the situation with seven defenders. The seventh would be one of them. They could play often than how it looks like now. And here is the unraveling of the problem: One of them may soon leave the Colorado Avalanche.

Check the contracts of our defenders and you will see one interesting fact: If we do not consider Johnson's still unsigned, only O'Byrne´s contract will expire in the next year. Other players have longer contracts, which means that even in the season 2013/14 would not be there a place Barrie and Elliotto. And it would have been well late. Of course the trade could happen, but let analyzed only certain issues. There would be only one free place for young guys. But Elliott and Barrie are two. Not only past, but also this paragraph is clearly heading to the trade situation. According to all-years rumors, Barrie is the top candidate.

So what can happen?

1. Johnson will not re-sign, and this problem will be resolved - is unlikely

2. Nothing will happen and players are still in the AHL, what is very risky - likely

3. Trade of Elliott/Barrie or another defender during the next season - most likely

David Puchovsky, Slovakia,
27/06/2012 - 15:41


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