For a roster without much contract turnover this summer, the Avalanche have had a busy Friday night with a number of major changes to their roster. The latest changes involve the future of two restricted free agents who finished the 2015 season with the NHL club. In a conference call during the first round of the NHL Entry Draft, Joe Sakic informed media that Joey Hishon would be qualified by the team while Jordan Caron would be let go. Drew Spevak from ESPN Denver broke the news on twitter:
Sakic: Hishon will be qualified, Jordan will not be
For Joey Hishon, the feel-good story continues. After the Avalanche drafted Hishon 17th overall in 2010, his road to the NHL took a massive detour when he suffered a concussion from a viscous elbow in the Memorial Cup playoffs. Hishon would miss the better part of two seasons with head injuries before making his debut at the professional level. Hishon made his NHL debut in the Avalanche's 2014 playoff series against the Minnesota Wild and returned to the NHL late in the 2015 season.
Hishon had a strong finish to the 2015 NHL season, earning more ice time with each game he played and earning the 8th spot in our Top 25 Under 25 series. Hishon's first NHL goal, a beautiful wrist-shot against the Nashville Predators was one of the most memorable moments of a disappointing 2014-2015 campaign.
Jordan Caron, another former first round pick had a very different late season trajectory, which ends with him becoming a free agent this summer. After being drafted 25th overall in 2009 by the Boston Bruins, Caron spent a number of years bouncing back and forth between the NHL and AHL. At the 2015 NHL Trade Deadline, the Avalanche acquired Caron and a 6th round pick from the Bruins in exchange for Max Talbot and Paul Carey.
Caron was given every opportunity to succeed with the Avalanche, starting for several games on a line with star players Matt Duchene and Jarome Iginla. Unfortunately, the young winger failed to produce and as the season progressed, his ice time shrunk. Caron registered 0 points in his 19 games with the Avalanche and finished the 2014-2015 season with 0 points in 30 games and just 12 shots on goal. In the Avalanche's final game, Caron played just over 6 minutes.
No word yet on the rest of Colorado's Restricted Free Agents, a group which includes Calvin Pickard, Stefan Elliott, Andrew Agozzino, Freddie Hamilton, Mat Clark, Mitchell Heard, Tomas Vincour, Marcus Lauridsen, and Sami Aittokallio.