Avalanche, Pickard Agree to One Year Deal
Colorado Avalanche restricted free agent Calvin Pickard has agreed to a one-year, two-way contract with the club. It is reported to be worth $850,500 at the NHL level. [Contract information from generalfanager.com.]
It is a contract worth less on an annual basis than his previous one and when it expires in 2015, Pickard will still be an RFA.
This deal likely signals that Pickard will continue to man the net with the Avalanche’s AHL affiliate, the San Antonio Rampage. In his four seasons in the AHL, he has posted a .914 in 102 games (all with previous affiliate, the Lake Erie Monsters.) He also played 16 games with the Avalanche in 2014-15, earning a .932 in those matches.
Ahead of Pickard in the Avalanche depth chart is Reto Berra, who has two more years on a one-way contract. The Avalanche can send Berra to San Antonio, assuming he would pass through waivers unclaimed, but if they do, the full amount of his contract will still count against their cap.
All of this indicates that the Avalanche would prefer Pickard to spend more time developing in the minor leagues. He is, after all, only 23 years old. Arguably, the greater playing time he would see in San Antonio, when added to spot duty in the NHL, would be more beneficial to his development than sitting on the bench behind Semyon Varlamov.