Avalanche removes Francois Beauchemin from roster with buyout

Avalanche removes Francois Beauchemin from roster with buyout

Defenseman Francois Beauchemin will not return to the Avalanche next season. The team announced Thursday morning it will buy out the final year of the 37-year-old’s $4.5 million annual contract, with no salary-cap benefit for 2017-18.

The move opens a roster spot and allows Colorado to protect another player from next week’s expansion draft. Beauchemin had a no-move clause, automatically putting him on the protected list. According to TSN hockey journalist Pierre LeBrun, Beauchemin’s agent Bob Sauve said the Avs never asked the player to waive his NMC for the expansion draft.

Beauchemin spent two seasons with the Avs after being acquired from Anaheim as an unrestricted free agent July 1, 2015. He had 34 points (eight goals) in 2015-16 but slipped to 18 points (five goals) last season. He played in 163 of a possible 164 games for Colorado and was named alternate captain by first-year coach Jared Bednar last season.

Because Beauchmin is over age 35, the Avs cannot spread out a buyout benefit, thus his $4.5 million salary will count against the team’s cap next season. However, the team only owes Beauchemin on a two-thirds ratio, $3 million, and will pay it in $1.5 million increments next season and in 2018-19, according to CapFriendly.com.

The same situation unfolded last season with defenseman Brad Stuart, whose entire $3.6 million salary counted against the cap after the Avs bought out then then-36-year-old.

For next Wednesday’s expansion draft in Las Vegas, the Avalanche will protect seven forwards, three defensemen and a goaltender or eight combined forwards/defensemen and a goalie. All first- and second-year players are exempt, along with unsigned prospects.

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Colorado is bound to protect defensemen Erik Johnson (NMC), Tyson Barrie and Nikita Zadorov, and possibly Mark Barbario if it goes the 8/1 route.

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