Colorado Avalanche roster moves aim to create salary cap space

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Less than an hour after Colorado’s 4-3 overtime loss to Winnipeg on Wednesday night, the wheels were in motion.

Forwards Anton Blidh and Jayson Megna, both new recalls from the AHL-affiliated Colorado Eagles, have been reassigned to Loveland. They combined for a shot in 12 minutes on the Avs’ fourth line, which struggled early in the season.

When asked before the match how long he hoped to see an impact from the newcomers, coach Jared Bednar didn’t mince words: “Well, I hope it will be immediate. There is no set time.

Was the immediate post-game maneuver just one example of the ruthless reality of the business?

There is more than that.

One or both could be back on the NHL roster when the Avalanche (2-1-1) host the Seattle Kraken at 7 p.m. Friday. Colorado reassigned Megna and Blidh for the team’s day off between games in a strategic move to increase salary cap space, Bednar said. Teams operating below the $82.5 million cap can rack up additional space throughout the season before the trade deadline, which becomes useful for navigating wages in the trade market.

“It’s just managing the cap. They are here,” Bednar said of Megna and Blidh. “So you could see it a lot. We did that the other day. We will do it again today. …just make sure we build as much space as possible.

The Avalanche held an optional rink on Thursday, making it a perfect day to lower the team’s cap. Both Megna and Blidh have an average annual value of $750,000, so Colorado pulls $1.5 million off the books for a day. It’s a lineup tactic the Avs will likely deploy more throughout the season.

However, not all reassignments are cap-based. In the case of Ben Meyers, who was sent to Loveland in Tuesday’s move which made room for new attackers, Bednar said it was about allowing for a reset. He and Meyers discussed the former Minnesota Golden Gophers star’s goals for the AHL.

“Kind of a unified decision,” Bednar said. “He was on board with that. … He understands that there are things to work on. So he goes down to work. Kind of like (Alex) Newhook last year for me, when we fired him and came back with a different player. Lots of practice time there. Very little training time here.

The cost of maneuvers? Colorado placed center Lukas Sedlak on waivers Tuesday, anticipating he would clear them and join Meyers with the Eagles. But the Philadelphia Flyers claimed Sedlak first.

“We would like to have them all (fourth-line attacking options) available to us,” Bednar said. “Happy for Seds, but wish he was still with us.”

Avs claim Hunt from Rangers

Needing to fill Sedlak’s hole, the Avalanche claimed Dryden Hunt off waivers from the New York Rangers on Thursday. Hunt is in his sixth year in the league and posted a career-high 17 points last season. He has five games of playoff experience and has scored once this season.

Bednar said he hasn’t studied Hunt’s game much yet — general manager Chris MacFarland has studied him and made the decision — but Hunt has ties to several Avs players. His reputation in the locker room? One missile firing.

“I think it’s a great recovery for us,” said forward Andrew Cogliano. “I saw him this summer. I trained with him a bit.

Injury Updates

Darren Helm has done a lot of individual work on the ice this week as he recovers from an abdominal injury. Bednar remains uncertain about his timing.

“It took longer than expected,” said the coach. “I know he’s pushing hard this week.”

Two players were seen receiving X-rays after Wednesday’s game. One of them, striker Evan Rodrigues, is no problem, Bednar said. Defender Devon Toews is still rated after briefly coming off the bench on Wednesday.

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