The Colorado Avalanche have checked off one of the final entries on their to-do list, signing Tyson Jost to a two-year contract. Jost was the team’s last restricted free agent at the NHL level. Peter Baugh of The Athletic reports that the deal will carry an average annual value of $2MM. GM Joe Sakic released a statement:
Tyson took a big step last year and was a key contributor to our team. He has worked hard to improve his game and earn a spot in our lineup. Tyson is a guy with a lot of character who competes at a high level day in and day out. We are excited to have him under contract for another two seasons.
Jost, 23, was the tenth overall pick in 2016 and though he is still waiting on an offensive breakout, the Avalanche trust him as a full-time bottom-six option that can help them moving forward. In 2020-21, he scored seven goals and 17 points in 54 games playing mostly with Valeri Nichushkin and Joonas Donskoi, a trio that unfortunately won’t be able to return for Colorado next season. Donskoi was snatched up by the Seattle Kraken in expansion, and after losing Brandon Saad to free agency, the Avalanche lines should have a slightly different look in 2021-22.
The biggest question is whether Jost, whose career-high is 26 points, will ever be able to step into a top-six role and succeed offensively. He’s already good enough in his own end to hold down a checking role, but there simply needs to be more scoring if he’s to become the next core piece in Colorado.
An offensive breakout would also benefit the young forward, as he’ll be an arbitration-eligible free agent once again at the end of this contract. In fact, he’ll be just a year away from unrestricted free agency, something he’s on schedule to reach at the age of 26 thanks to his early start in the NHL. It means these next two seasons are crucial from a financial standpoint, as the Avalanche hope to squeeze some extra value out of a $2MM cap hit while Jost hopes to set himself up for a big extension.