The Colorado Avalanche have signed head coach Jared Bednar to a two-year extension, keeping him in the organization through the 2021-22 season. Bednar was heading into the final year of his current deal but will get some security with which to work. GM Joe Sakic released a statement on the hiring:
Jared has done a tremendous job behind the bench and has earned the opportunity to continue leading this team. He is an outstanding coach who has the full trust of his players, coaches and staff. He has guided this franchise to two straight playoff appearances and we are excited with what this group can do moving forward.
Bednar has had quite the three seasons in Colorado, since being named head coach in late August 2016. He replaced the outgoing Patrick Roy, who had left the team suddenly just before training camp was set to start after struggles with management. Bednar has just a few weeks to prepare for his first NHL job, and that initial season did not go well. Coming off a championship with the Lake Erie Monsters, Bednar took control of a Colorado team that hadn’t made the playoffs in two seasons and things spiraled quickly out of control. The Avalanche would finish the 2016-17 season with just a 22-56-4 record, and many expected them to move on to a more experienced coach with more time to prepare.
Sakic stuck with Bednar though and it paid off in 2017-18 when he led the Avalanche back to the playoffs. A 43-30-9 record and a breakout season for Nathan MacKinnon—finally out of the shadow of Matt Duchene after an early season trade—was a huge turnaround in such a short period of time. Last season they followed it up with a second consecutive postseason appearance, and another outstanding year by MacKinnon and running mates Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog. Though the Avalanche struggled at times thanks to their dependence on that top line, Bednar still pushed enough buttons to guide them through the first round of the playoffs.
Now, with some added punch up front—the Avalanche brought in Joonas Donskoi, Nazem Kadri, and Andre Burakovsky—and a budding star on defense in Cale Makar, the outlook is outstanding in Colorado. Bednar will be there to guide it for the foreseeable future, trying to complete the trifecta of a Kelly Cup, Calder Cup and Stanley Cup in his coaching career.