Avs are on the roll! Not just with their six straight wins while scoring 3 goals or more, but also with their moves to secure the depth of the team. After showing signs of inconsistencies, early in the season, the Colorado Avalanche are now looking to be their championship form.
From being +700 earlier this month on FanDuel Sportsbook, the Avs are now +650 to win the NHL season 2023. Boston Bruins remains on top with +500 odds while Carolina Panther follows with +750.
Colorado Avalanche Extend Keaton Middleton
The Colorado Avalanche have made a move to secure their defensive depth for the future, announcing a contract extension for Keaton Middleton. As per Peter Baugh of The Athletic, the two-way deal will keep Middleton with the team through the 2024-25 season. The deal, reported by PuckPedia, will carry an average annual value of $775K in the NHL, and $250K in the AHL, and includes a minor league guarantee of $300K.
Middleton’s two-year contract extension provides him with financial security and career stability as he continues to hone his skills in the minor leagues. Although he has only played three NHL games in his career, he has become a trusted defender on the Eagles’ roster and is just one point behind Brad Hunt for the team lead in points by a defenseman.
With Middleton’s age, he would have been eligible for Group VI unrestricted free agency this summer. However, the Avalanche organization saw his value and chose to lock him up for the future, giving him another opportunity to prove himself at the NHL level. For Middleton, this contract extension is a step closer to fulfilling his dreams of playing regularly in the top tier of professional hockey. The team knows that they can still win the championship this year and keeping the squad intact is a great way to move forward.
The 25-year-old was originally drafted in the fourth round by the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2016 but has since found a home with the Avalanche organization. At 6-foot-6 and 240 pounds, Middleton is a towering presence on the blue line and has been a reliable defensive stalwart for the Colorado Eagles, the Avalanche’s AHL affiliate. This season, he has already set career highs in assists and points, with three goals and 20 points in 57 games played.
Goalie Swap Between Avs and Bruins
The Avalanche also acquire goaltender Keith Kinkaid from the Bruins in exchange for Colorado Eagles forward Shane Bowers in a one-for-one swap. The move is unexpected given that the Avalanche already have Jonas Johansson in their goaltending lineup, but it may be related to the status of injured netminder Pavel Francouz.
Kinkaid, who is 33 years old, has spent most of the current season as the starting goaltender for the Providence Bruins in the AHL, where he has posted an 8-7-4 record with a .909 save percentage and 3.10 goals-against average. Although Kinkaid has not been a regular backup in the NHL for several years, he made one appearance for the Bruins this season and proved himself to be a solid netminder, stopping 30 out of 31 shots to lead the Bruins to a 3-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres on November 12th.
While Kinkaid has been forced into a timeshare in Providence due to the emergence of rookie Brandon Bussi, he has shown that he still has what it takes to play at the NHL level. With Kinkaid now in the fold, the Avalanche have added depth to their goaltending position and will be better equipped to deal with any further injuries or setbacks.