The seven-year, $35MM contract that Samuel Girard signed with the Colorado Avalanche earlier this week as a sign that the team has found an heir apparent for recently traded Tyson Barrie. While the team has a ton of talent in Cale Makar, as well as the 2019 fourth-overall pick in Bowen Byram, the Avalanche believe they have a top-four defenseman in their 21-year-old.
In fact, The Athletic’s Scott Burnside (subscription required) writes that he believes that general manager Joe Sakic believes strongly that the 162-pound Girard is ready for a full-time role this season as their top defender, which is a big task to take on. Barrie averaged 24:11 in the playoffs last year, while Girard averaged almost five minutes below that. However, the team believes he will take his game up a notch and make his seven-year deal a steal of a signing in the future.
- Charlie Roumeliotis of NBC Sports Chicago writes in a mailbag column that he wonders whether the Chicago Blackhawks will seriously consider keeping 2019 third-overall pick Kirby Dach on the roster entering the season. Last year, the top four draft picks in the 2018 draft made their respective teams in the NHL, and Chicago does have an opening for a third-line center which could be a perfect match. Of course, much of that decision will come down to how Dach performs at training camp as well as how many minutes he might play as Dach is used to being a top-minutes player on his junior team.
- In his latest mailbag, Sean Shapiro of The Athletic (subscription required) writes that the Dallas Stars may have trouble moving defenseman Julius Honka, who the team was expected to move this offseason. Shapiro believes the team is hoping to get a fourth-round pick for the 2014 first-rounder who has fallen out of favor in Dallas, but he writes that many teams believe that they can just get the blue liner off of waivers at the start of the season as its highly unlikely that Dallas will keep Honka on their roster.
- Sticking with the Stars, Matthew DeFranks of SportsDay writes in a mailbag column that he believes that while Jason Robertson could be an excellent addition to the Dallas Stars team, he doubts that Robertson will play more than a handful of games with the Stars next season. The 20-year-old is turning pro this season after Dallas selected him in the second round of the 2017 draft and saw him net 48 goals and 117 points in 62 games in the OHL last season. Franks writes that Robertson will spend most of next season in the AHL with the Texas Stars as he learns to adjust to the pro game.