Fresh off a Stanley Cup, the Colorado Avalanche have kicked off the free agent frenzy by re-signing defenseman Josh Manson to a four-year contract worth $18 million, with an average annual value (AAV) of $4.5 million.
The Avalanche originally brought in Manson at the 2022 trade deadline, acquiring him from the rebuilding Anaheim Ducks in exchange for prospect Drew Helleson and a 2023 second-round pick. The new deal is a slight raise from his previous contract, which he signed back in 2018 and carried an AAV of $4.1 million.
The contract also comes with a no-trade clause (NTC) in the first two years and a modified no-trade (M-NTC) clause in the final two years of the deal. The deal will take Manson into his age-34 year, and the M-NTC at the tail end of his contract will make it easier to move him down the road if the team needs to.
After Manson joined the Avalanche, he tallied seven points in 22 games, and made a solid impact offensively in the playoffs as well, with three goals and eight points in 20 games.
Manson Brings Experience, Stability to Avalanche Back End
One of the reasons the Avalanche won the Stanley Cup in 2021-22 is the impact that their trade deadline acquisitions had. Manson, Artturi Lehkonen, and Andrew Cogliano all made a positive impact for the club in their own way, so it’s not shocking that the Avalanche wanted more of what Manson brought.
While the face of the defensive corps is undoubtedly Cale Makar, Manson’s presence on the back end will be a valuable asset for an Avalanche team that will look to make sure their Cup win wasn’t a one-off.
He plays a style of game that can work with hefty minutes or limited minutes, and benefit a crop of defensemen that includes promising young talent like Bowen Byram. He’s not known for his offense, with only 120 points in 475 games throughout his career, but he’s got a sneaky ability to chip in on the scoresheet here and there.
What’s next for Colorado?
The Avalanche are going to be losing a couple of key pieces this summer, including starting goaltender Darcy Kuemper and breakout star Nazem Kadri. But they’ve got intriguing pieces from within, and they already traded for a Kuemper replacement in Alexandar Georgiev.
Related: 2022 NHL Free Agent Tracker
The return of Manson will ensure the Avalanche defensive corps stays mostly intact, and with roughly $9 million in cap space to work with, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them pursue a forward to replace Kadri.
Alex Hobson is a third year broadcasting student at Niagara College. He has been writing about sports since 2015 and has been with The Hockey Writers since October of 2020. He covers the Toronto Maple Leafs, World Juniors, and the NHL Entry Draft, and is also part of the Sticks in the 6ix Podcast, presented by THW. He also makes weekly appearances on THW’s Maple Leafs Lounge Roundtable. For interview requests or any other inquiries, you can follow Alex’s social media pages listed at the bottom of his articles like this one.