Avalanche sign Cole, CalvertThe Colorado Avalanche have signed former Blue Jackets Ian Cole and Matt Calvert to three-year deals.
The Colorado Avalanche announced that the team has signed defenseman Ian Cole and forward Matt Calvert. Both Cole and Calvert played for the Columbus Blue Jackets last season and both have been signed to three-year deals, which would give the Avs the opportunity to expose them for a possible expansion draft in the near future.
Cole, a native of Ann Arbor, Michigan, split the past season between Pittsburgh, where he played 47 games and recorded 13 points (3 goals, 10 assists), and Columbus, where he was traded in a three-team swap prior to the deadline and where he appeared in 20 games, recording 7 points (two goals, 5 assists). The 29-year-old also suited up for 6 games in the post-season, recording three assists. A former first-round pick of the St. Louis Blues (18th overall in 2007), Cole spent parts of 5 seasons in St. Louis before being dealt to Pittsburgh, where he won back-to-back Stanley Cups in 2016 and 2017. “Ian has been a part of two Stanley Cup teams, brings leadership and a veteran presence to our blue line,” said Avs GM Joe Sakic, while also praising his puck-moving and defensive skills. Cole’s contract carries an annual cap hit of $4.25M.
Cole won back-to-back Stanley Cups with the Penguins in 2016 and 2017
Calvert registered 24 points (9 goals, 15 assists) in 69 games for the Blue Jackets in 2017-18, matching career highs in both assists and points. He also appeared in 6 playoff games, recording three goals and an assist. The Brandon, Manitoba native has spent his entire career in Columbus up until now, being selected in the 5th round (127th overall) at the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. “Matt is a competitive two-way winger who has the versatility to play throughout the lineup,” said Sakic, adding that his tenacity and speed make him a good fit for the Avs. Calvert has established himself as a solid penalty-kill player and he even led the Blue Jackets in shorthanded goals last season. The 28-year-old’s contract carries an annual cap hit of $2.8M.
Calvert's spin-o-rama goal against the Capitals in the first round of this year's playoffs made its way into a number of highlight reels
Both signings will improve the depth of the Avs’ roster, as Calvert comes in as a younger, albeit a little more expensive alternative to Blake Comeau, who signed with Dallas. Blue Jackets fans and players alike have praised him for his character and leadership – Calvert has been known to stand up for teammates and doesn’t shy away from physical play. Cole has a slightly bigger pedigree, as he’s been part of two Cup-winning teams in Pittsburgh. Although he’s not a flashy defenseman and is often overlooked, he’s solid in his own zone and should become a valuable veteran presence on the team’s blueline, while also serving as a mentor for young defensive prospects in the Avs’ system. Cole comes in with a bigger price tag, but even with his deal, the Avs still have $17M in cap space, while also eating part of Brooks Orpik’s salary following his recent buyout. It’s also worth noting that both Cole and Calvert have already played under head coach Jared Bednar – Cole played two seasons (2010-11 and 2011-12) under Bednar for the AHL’s Peoria Rivermen, while Calvert played 34 games for the AHL’s Springfield Falcons while Bednar was in his first season as the team’s assistant coach.
Michal Hezely, Slovakia, email@example.com
01/07/2018 - 23:00