It seemed likely that Marko Dano would be claimed by some team in the NHL after he was waived by the Winnipeg Jets yesterday, and this time it was the Colorado Avalanche with the winning claim. The Avalanche will add Dano to their young group and hope he can start to live up to the high potential he’s shown in flashes throughout his career. Today’s waivers include only Stephen Gionta of the New York Islanders after he was signed this weekend, while Alex Biega has cleared and can be sent to the minor leagues.
Dano, 23, was a first-round pick of the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2013, but will now be with his fourth NHL organization. Traded first as part of the package that brought Brandon Saad to the Blue Jackets, he was then flipped to the Jets in a package for Andrew Ladd. In Winnipeg he failed to make much of an impact, registering just 22 points in 82 games while sitting in the press box or the injury room for most of his time there. He’ll try to change that in Colorado, where there is a bigger opportunity given the team’s less polished forward group.
Colorado now has ten forwards on the roster age 25 or under, and only three players on the whole roster—Carl Soderberg, Erik Johnson and Semyon Varlamov—who have had their thirtieth birthday. That young core surprised the entire league last season when they made the playoffs, and are off to a fine start with three commanding wins in their first five games. Dano still has the potential to be a key player in that group, but will have to quickly show his ability and prove that he deserves a long-term spot with the club. On a one-year, $800K contract this season, if he fails to crack the lineup on a regular basis there may be reason to not extend him a qualifying offer this summer given his arbitration rights.