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As was previously reported here at BSN Denver in recent days, the Colorado Avalanche came to terms with their final restricted free agent, defenseman Patrik Nemeth.
With an arbitration hearing scheduled for this Saturday, the two sides were able to hammer out an agreement and avoid the experience altogether. Nemeth’s new deal is just for one year but will pay him $2.5 million, a significant raise from the $945,000 he made last year.
At 26-years-old, Nemeth was not eligible for a multi-year contract through the arbitration process and with just the one year signed, he will be eligible for unrestricted free agency for the first time in his career next summer.
A waiver claim from the Dallas Stars on October 3 of last year, Nemeth eventually worked his way into the Avalanche lineup and through a mess of bodies to the tune of a career year in all categories. He ended up seeing time in 68 games, producing 15 points (3g, 12a) and an astronomical plus-minus of +27.
Nemeth eventually earned the primary penalty killing role late in the season, sometimes not even coming off the ice during changes as the units changed personnel. So much was the trust he earned from head coach Jared Bednar and his staff, Nemeth actually led the Avalanche in ice time during the playoffs at 23:42 per game. Much of that was on the back of him averaging a ridiculous 4:13 of SHTOI per game in the postseason as he was just fourth among Avs defensemen in EVTOI.
Given the addition of Ian Cole this summer and the multitude of multi-year contracts given out to fellow defensemen, it’s unclear whether or not Nemeth remains in Colorado’s long-term plans but he should still be given enough ice time to prove he was worth the healthy raise given to him on this contract. As Cole largely plays the same role as Nemeth did for the Avs last year, it will be interesting to see how the roles shake out in Colorado’s suddenly crowded defense.
With the Nemeth contract signed, the Avalanche have wrapped up all of their immediate business this summer. They currently sit at 47 contracts signed throughout the organization (max is 50) and, per Cap Friendly, the Avalanche have just over $12 million left in cap space. The concern with how the Avalanche has conducted their business this summer is that of those 47 contracts, only 23 of them have multiple years attached to them. That gives them 24 players, and 12 at the NHL level, to re-assess and sign next summer. Given they also have five picks in the first three rounds of the NHL Draft, they are setting themselves up for an extremely busy summer in 2019.
Per usual, here are some fancies for Nemeth: