Avalanche Midsummer News

By Mike Kretschmer

Summer hockey news has been pretty slow in the Rocky Mountain region this summer. Knowing Pierre Lacroix, we can never know what to expect…but judging by the amount of free agents he has on his hands, we can expect some ‘new’ news very soon.

Joe Sakic is headed to arbitration on the 15th. Can we expect a deal beforehand? Yes. Will it have a ‘no-trade’ clause? Maybe, but not likely. At the small chance it does, expect it to be very much like the partial one that Roy had.

Peter Forsberg has injured his ankle in a scrimmage/preparation match for a for MoDo’s reunion/farewell game for the Sedin twins. It’s just a minor injury, and should have no real relevance to his condition come training camp. Someone told me Chris Drury also had a little injury (hamstring) while training in Boston with the usual assortment of former BU and BC players, but, once again, such an injury is of little importance.

Will Russian winger Mikhail Kuleshov be in this year’s camp? Sorry, but it’s very unlikely, as the period to sign a foreign prospect without being fined as passed. If Kuleshov wanted to come to camp, he could, but if he wanted a contract, the Avs would have to pay a release fee, plus an addition transfer fee to his European club. With the current budget, I really doubt we will see Kuleshov until next year’s camp.

The only big news of late that you probably haven’t heard too much about is the signing of former San Jose winger Mike Craig.(remember him?) He’s expecting to make the big team as a fourth liner, and just might pull it off. The Avs might be looking for another fourth liner type, maybe Benoit Hogue, but I’d say keep on the lookout for Brad Larsen in camp. I’d be shocked to see him be sent back to Hershey this year. He knows the 4th line position has his name on it, he just needs to have a good camp, and cut down on the bad penalties that took him out of last year’s camp.

Alexei Gusarov is doing the annual pondering of retirement, and he may be coming back. While this may be a shock to fans and the other prospects, remember, Klemm’s deal may be a little too much to eat for the Avs, despite his season. But this is a small worry, compared to the team’s other troubles.

Claude Lemieux? He’s been in Denver for a short time during the summer, seeing as he is a partial owner of the Avs practice facility, but nothing more than that. Maybe the Avs have become a surprise bidder? Unlikely. He’s simply asking far too much, even for Pierre to make a surprise signing.

Jared Aulin and Kurt Sauer have been in the Denver area for sometime, doing workouts and PR for the team at numerous functions like Breakout, but don’t look too much into that. The Avs have never been big into signing prospect’s the summer after a the year they were drafted. (besides Parker, but he was a reentry in the ’98 draft.)

Stay tuned for additional details and commentary as they come on the Avalanche Board.