The Colorado Avalanche announced via Twitter that they have extended goaltender Alexandar Georgiev for three years. TSN’s Chris Johnston reports that the deal is expected to carry a $3.4MM AAV and Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic reports the salary breakdown to be $3.6MM in year one, $3.7MM in year two, and $2.9MM in year three. Colorado had acquired the goaltender on Thursday in exchange for a 2022 third-round pick, a 2022 fifth-round pick, and a 2023 third-round pick. The trade, and now this extension, seems to put a close to Darcy Kuemper’s time in Colorado, as he is set to hit the free agent market on Wednesday.
Just after the Georgiev announcement, the team also announced via Twitter and their website that they have extended defenseman Jacob MacDonald for two years. The news was first broke by The Athletic’s Peter Baugh. MacDonald’s contract is two-way, with a $450K salary in the minors and carries a cap hit of $762.5K each season (link).
Georgiev, 26, was an arbitration-eligible RFA who was due a $2.65MM qualifying offer, one the Rangers likely couldn’t afford, especially as a backup to Vezina Trophy winner Igor Shesterkin. With speculation that the team could let Georgiev walk in free agency, the team was able to secure a return by sending him to Colorado for the above draft picks. Colorado appeared set to try and work out an extension with Kuemper, the incumbent goaltender, but with several other UFAs on the docket and a goalie market with seemingly much higher demand than supply, Georgiev became the more attractive option.
The reigning Stanley Cup Champion Avalanche now boast a duo of Georgiev and Pavel Francouz in net, which will cost a combined $5.4MM over each of the next two seasons before Francouz becomes a UFA after 2023-24. The cost for both goaltenders is surely attractive for Colorado, given it is less than some teams pay for just their starter, however it doesn’t come without some questions as to performance. In 33 games last season, Georgiev played to just an .898 save-percentage, the worst mark of his career, and a 2.92 goals-against average. Francouz played to a far better .916 save-percentage and 2.55 goals-against average in 21 regular season games, as well as a .906 save-percentage and 2.81 goals-against average in seven playoff games, filling in for an injured Kuemper. Though Francouz’s numbers are relatively good, the Avalanche have made clear his role is as the backup. This may not necessarily hold true over the remainder of his contract, and could formulate strong competition between the two for playing time.
Switching gears and turning back to MacDonald, the 29-year-old is a veteran of 43 NHL games, including eight in 2021-22 for the Avalanche, his most significant time however, coming in 2020-21, where he played in 33 games. Having just two goals and eight assists in his NHL career to date, the defenseman has been a prolific point-producer at the AHL level, hitting the 40-point mark three times, including one 55 point season. This season, MacDonald tallied 10 goals and 15 assists in a mere 33 AHL games. The Cornell University alum could be a candidate to push for more playing time with the Avalanche this year, having shown his ability to play at the NHL level, his affordability, and with questions regarding other Avalanche defensemen, including pending UFAs Josh Manson, Jack Johnson, and Ryan Murray, as well as Samuel Girard, who broke his sternum in Colorado’s second-round series against the St. Louis Blues.