Avalanche extend defenseman Samuel Girard for seven years

The Colorado Avalanche announced Wednesday that they’ve agreed to a seven-year contract extension with Samuel Girard. Just 21-years-old, the defenseman will reportedly make $5 million annually for the duration of the contract, per Mike Chambers of the Denver Post.

With the new deal, he is signed through the 2026-27 season, joining a projected long-term defensive core that includes Erik Johnson and rookie Cale Makar.

“Samuel has been one of our best all-around defensemen since joining the Avalanche,” said Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic in a statement. “He plays important minutes and is someone our coaches count on to play against other teams’ top lines. He has an exceptional ability to skate and move the puck. As a member of our core, we felt it was important to sign him to a long-term deal and we are excited to announce this extension.”

The extension was not exactly the news Avalanche fans expected to hear as July closes and top restricted free agent Mikko Rantanen remains without a contract – especially considering Girard’s entry-level contract still runs through next season. Since the Roberval, Que., native’s new deal does not kick in until July 1, 2020, the Avalanche still have about $15.7 million in salary cap space to sign Rantanen, who scored 87 points last season.

Girard brings an element of skill to Colorado’s blueline (27 points in 2018-19) and is one of the most disciplined players in the NHL – he only served three minor penalties last season and finished seventh in voting for the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, awarded to the player that combines “the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct” along with a high skill level.

The Avalanche initially acquired Girard from the Predators in Nov. 2017 as part of a three-team trade that sent Matt Duchene to the Senators and Kyle Turris to Nashville. Girard was drafted by Nashville in the second round of the 2016 NHL Draft.

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