Rumor: Avalanche May Buyout Former First Overall Pick


The Colorado Avalanche may buyout 33-year-old defenseman Erik Johnson, according to Frank Seravalli. The first overall pick of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft has a $6 million cap hit with two more years left on his current deal. 

Since being traded there from the Blues during the 2010-11 season, Johnson has been a very important piece to their defensive core. He not only has provided steady play, but fantastic leadership and is currently an alternate captain. Yet, with the Avalanche needing to give new contracts to Gabriel Landeskog, Cale Makar and Philipp Grubauer, a Johnson buyout does make sense. 

This season, Johnson only appeared in four games and recorded one assist. He sustained a concussion at the beginning of the season and was unable to return. This makes keeping him risky for the Avalanche, as it is not definite that he will be able to return next season with any true regularity. That spells trouble with his cap hit.

We will see what the Avalanche decide to do shortly. They could elect to keep him because of his leadership, but their defensive group has looked solid enough without him. It may be in their best interest go with the buyout and gain more cap space to re-sign their core guys and potentially even bring in someone else, too. 
Photo Credit: © Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

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