Avalanche re-signs Manson, Helm, Lehkonen – Greeley Tribune

The Avalanche re-signed defenseman Josh Manson and forward Darren Helm in the 11th hour before opening free agency Wednesday morning.

Manson was given a four-year contract worth $18 million ($4.5 million annual cap) and Helm signed a one-year deal worth $1.25 million.

The team also settled with Artturi Lehkonen during free agency on Wednesday, signing the Finnish forward on a five-year, $22.5 million deal. The 27-year-old was a restricted free agent.

Manson, who was acquired by Anaheim before the March trade deadline, came off a $4.1 million annual contract he signed with the Ducks in 2018. He and Helm — who signed a one-year, $1 million deal with the Avs free agents a year ago — were scheduled to become free agents Wednesday at 10 a.m. MT. Lehkonen was acquired from Montreal before the NHL trade deadline in March.

All three became integral parts of Colorado’s run to winning the Stanley Cup.

Manson’s signing was the latest step in locking out the six defensemen starting the playoffs for the Avs, who went 16-4 en route to winning their first championship since 2001.

“Josh has been a huge asset to our backend all the way through and into the playoffs,” Avalanche general manager Chris MacFarland said in a press release. “He played big minutes in our second pairing throughout the postseason, providing a strong, consistent presence in the defensive zone while also contributing some key goals to the offensive end. Signing him for the next four years helps to further solidify our blue line.”

Manson, 30, is a prototype shutdown defender. His 63 hits after the Anaheim trade almost doubled the nearest teammate during that stretch. Manson had a career-high 10 hits on his Avalanche debut on March 15 in Los Angeles.

The 35-year-old Helm was a valuable fourth-line forward in the postseason with a relentless forecheck and defensive turn-off ability. And he scored the decisive goal in Game 6 of the second-round series against the St. Louis Blues in the dying seconds of regular time to send Colorado to the Western Conference Finals for the first time since 2002.

“Darren was an invaluable member of our championship team this past season, especially during the playoffs,” MacFarland said. “He brings a high level of competition, high energy and experienced leadership to our group. We look forward to having him back for another season.”

Lehkonen had eight goals and 14 points in 20 games for the Avs in the postseason. He often served as a top six forward and was always in one of the power play units.

“Artturi was a great fit for our team last season and obviously played an integral part in our championship run,” MacFarland said in a press release. “He’s incredibly versatile, can play anywhere in the line-up. It has a non-stop motor and never shifts.

“He’s really smart, extremely competitive and knows his role no matter what’s asked of him. Getting length and tenure for a player of his quality was a top priority off the season and we’re really excited to have him for the next five years.”

Lehkonen was selected by the Canadians with the 55th pick of the 2013 draft. He has 158 points (80 goals) in 412 NHL regular season games of his career, as well as 26 points (14 goals) in 53 playoff games.

MacFarland, who succeeded hockey operations president Joe Sakic as GM Monday, has now blocked four key players from becoming free agents. MacFarland signed top six winger Valeri Nichushkin to an eight-year, $49 million deal the day he became GM.

The Avs also prevented fourth-line forward Andrew Cogliano from testing the market. Cogliano was re-signed on July 5 to a one-year deal worth $1.25 million.

Six others became free agents on Wednesday: forwards Nazem Kadri, Andre Burakovsky, Nicolas Aube-Kubel and Nico Sturm; defense attorneys Jack Johnson and Ryan Murray; and goalkeeper Darcy Kuemper.

Burakovsky signed a five-year, $27.5 million ($5.5 million cap hit) deal with the Seattle Kraken. Kuemper signed a five-year, $26.25 million ($5.25 million cap hit) deal with the Washington Capitals. And Aube-Kubel signed a one-year ($1 million) deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Kuemper had a $4.5 million cap hit last season, but the Arizona Coyotes kept $1 million after bringing him to Colorado during free agency a year ago.

“It was definitely a whirlwind,” Kuemper said after joining NHL Network. “You won and you celebrated and then you have a few days to enjoy it and then you look at your next team. But I’m excited for the new opportunity and can’t wait to get started.”

The Avalanche also brought back goaltender Jonas Johansson, who started with the club last season before being released from waivers by the Florida Panthers when Colorado tried to transfer him to the AHL. Johansson, 26, agreed to a one-year contract and will serve as the goaltender for the No. 3 Avs or be transferred to the Colorado Eagles if he clears the waivers.

The Avs added four more minor league players to two-way deals:

• Forward Charles Hudon, who scored 30 goals and 57 points in 66 games for the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch last season, has signed a one-year contract. Hudon, 28, saw no time with the Tampa Bay Lightning, Crunch’s NHL affiliate, after playing in Switzerland during the 2020-21 season.

• Colorado-signed defenseman Andreas Englund, who played 57 games for the Colorado Eagles last season and led the AHL club with 103 penalty minutes. The 26-year-old, 6-foot-4 Englund agreed to a one-year deal.

• Forward Spencer Smallman has signed a two-year deal until 2023-24. The 25-year-old Smallman had 27 points (10 goals) in 65 games for the Chicago Wolves of the AHL last season.

• Defenseman Josh Jacobs, 26, who also played for the Chicago Wolves last season, has signed a one-year contract.

https://www.greeleytribune.com/2022/07/13/avalanche-re-signs-josh-manson/ Avalanche re-signs Manson, Helm, Lehkonen – Greeley Tribune

James Brien

24ssports is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – admin@24ssports.com. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Related Articles

Back to top button