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A Summer Of Signings

by Kyle Shohara / Colorado Avalanche
Needless to say, it's been an active summer for the Colorado Avalanche organization. From having two picks in the top-11 at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft to key free-agent signings, the Avalanche has quickly revamped its roster with a mix of youth and veteran leadership.  

The following, in chronological order, is a look at the notable signings of the offseason.

May 1, 2011

Milan Hejduk - The 35-year-old native of Usti, Czech Republic, completed his 12th season with the Avalanche, finishing third on the club in both points (56) and goals (22-tied).  He appeared in 71 games and led Colorado in power-play goals (10) and power-play points (24).  Hejduk reached the 20-goal mark for the 11th consecutive season, tying Joe Sakic's franchise record, and moved passed Peter Forsberg for fourth place on the franchise's all-time scoring list (357-400=757).  He also ranks fourth all-time among franchise leaders with a +120 plus/minus rating.

June 15, 2011

Joakim Lindstrom - Spent this past season with Skelleftea HC of the Swedish Elite League, where he led the league in scoring with 60 points (28g/32a) in 54 games.  The Skelleftea, Sweden native led his team in points and penalty minutes (134) and ranked second in both goals and assists en route to being named to the 2011 Elitserien All-Star Team.  Lindstrom collected 11 points (4g/7a) in 18 playoff games.  Has appeared in 81 career NHL games with the Columbus Blue Jackets and Phoenix Coyotes, tallying 13-15=18 points during parts of four seasons.

June 29, 2011

David Jones
- The 26-year-old shared the team goal-scoring lead with a career-high 27 goals in 2010-11.  He also set career bests in games (77), assists (18) and points (45).  The Guelph, Ontario native led the Avalanche with four game-winning goals and set a new single-season franchise record with three overtime goals.  Selected in the ninth round (288th overall) of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, Jones became the lowest Avalanche/Nordiques draft choice to ever make it to the NHL when he made his debut in 2007-08.  Has tallied 47-33=80 points in 167 career NHL games.

June 30, 2011

Ryan O'Byrne Appeared in 64 games with Colorado after being acquired from Montreal on Nov. 11.  The Victoria, B.C., native tallied a career-high 10 points (0g/10a) while finishing second on the Avalanche in average time-on-ice at 20:24.  The 26-year-old led Colorado in hits (168), finished second on the club in blocked shots (126) and was third in penalty minutes (71).  Has tallied 2-24=26 points and 252 penalty minutes in 192 career NHL games.

The Avalanche also signed Matt Hunwick.  The 26-year-old defenseman was acquired from Boston on Nov. 29 and went on to register 10 points (0g/10a) in 51 games with the Avs.  The Warren, Mich., native skated in a combined 73 games between the Avalanche and Bruins, registering 13 points (1g/12a).  Has tallied 13-42=55 points in 215 career NHL games.

July 1, 2011

Jan Hejda - The 33-year-old defenseman appeared in 77 games for the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2010-11, tallying 20 points (5g/15a) while averaging 21:07 of ice time.  The 6-foot-4, 237-pound native of Prague, Czech Republic, finished second among Blue Jackets defenders in games played, and was third in both points and ice time.  Has appeared in 341 career NHL games, notching 12-64=76 points and has a career +17 plus/minus rating.

Semyon Varlamov - Appeared in 27 games for the Capitals last season, compiling an 11-9-5 record with a 2.23 GAA, .924 SV%, and two shutouts.  The 23-year-old from Samara, Russia, finished fourth in the NHL in goals-against average and ranked sixth in save percentage.  Only the three Vezina Trophy Finalists, Boston's Tim Thomas (2.00), Vancouver's Roberto Luongo (2.11) and Nashville's Pekka Rinne (2.12) had a lower GAA than Varlamov.  A first-round pick (23rd overall) of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, Varlamov has compiled a 30-13-12 career record with a 2.39 GAA and .917 SV% in 59 career NHL appearances.  He has also appeared in 19 career playoff games, fashioning a 10-9 record with a 2.49 GAA and .915 SV%.

Jean-Sebastien Giguere - The 34-year-old netminder appeared in 33 games with the Toronto Maple Leafs last season, compiling an 11-11-4 record with a 2.87 GAA and .900 SV%. The Montreal native backstopped the Anaheim Ducks to the 2007 Stanley Cup Championship and also captured the 2003 Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP after leading the Ducks to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final against New Jersey.  He became the fifth player in league history to win the Conn Smythe on a losing team.  Has appeared in 525 career NHL games, posting a 231-195-67 career record with a 2.53 GAA, .913 SV% and 34 shutouts.

Chuck Kobasew - Collected 16 points (9g/7a) in 63 games with the Minnesota Wild last season.  The Vancouver, B.C., native has tallied 96-89=185 points in 473 career NHL games over eight seasons with Calgary, Boston and Minnesota.  Has appeared in 44 career playoff games, including 26 during the Flames' run to the 2004 Stanley Cup Final.  Selected in the first round (14th overall) in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft, Kobasew has scored 20-plus goals in three different seasons.

July 8, 2011

Cedrick Desjardins - Made his NHL debut in 2010-11, appearing in two games with the Tampa Bay Lightning.  He won both of his starts, allowing just one goal in each game (1.00 GAA, .968 SV%).  The Edmundston, New Brunswick native spent most of the year with Tampa Bay's American Hockey League affiliate, the Norfolk Admirals, where he posted a 15-6-1 record with a 2.59 GAA and .905 SV% in 24 contests.

Evan Brophey Made his debut in 2010-11, appearing in one game for the Chicago Blackhawks on Oct. 23 against the Columbus Blue Jackets.  The 24-year-old spent most of the year with the Rockford IceHogs (AHL), where he collected 19 points (10g/9a) and 65 penalty minutes in 67 games.  Chicago's fourth selection (third round, 68th overall) in the 2005 Entry Draft, the Kitchener, Ontario native has spent the last four seasons with Rockford.  Prior to his time with the IceHogs, Brophey tallied 36-71=107 points in 68 games with the Plymouth Whalers (OHL) during his final season of junior hockey in 2006-07.

In addition, the Avalanche formally annouced that the club had agreed to terms with defenseman David Liffiton, along with forwards Greg Mauldin, Justin Mercier, Ryan Stoa and David Van Der Gulik.

July 9, 2011

Kevin Porter
Established career highs in games (74), goals (14), assists (11) and points (25) with the Avalanche in 2010-11.  He scored three game-winning goals, tied for second most on the team.  Porter has skated in 128 career NHL games, tallying 21-17=28 points.  The 25-year-old native of Detroit, Mich., won the 2008 Hobey Baker Award as a senior at the University of Michigan (CCHA).

Ryan Wilson - Appeared in 67 games with the Avalanche this past season, tallying 16 points (3g/13a) and 68 penalty minutes.  The Windsor, Ontario native finished third on the team in both hits (135) and blocked shots (110), and was fourth in penalty minutes (68).  Has recorded 6-31=37 points and 104 penalty minutes in 128 career NHL games.

July 12, 2011

TJ Galiardi
- Despite being limited to 35 games due to two separate injuries, the 23-year-old recorded 15 points (7g/8a) during the 2010-11 season.  A second-round selection (55th overall) by the Avs in the 2007 Entry Draft, Galiardi has tallied 25-33=58 points in 116 career NHL games.  He recorded 39 points (15g/24a) in 70 games as a rookie in 2009-10, ranking him fifth among all NHL rookies in both goals and assists.  He also dressed in all six playoff games for the Avalanche that spring, posting two assists while leading all Colorado forwards in ice time at 20:49 per game.

The Avalanche also signed free-agent forward Patrick Rissmiller.  The 32-year-old played for five different teams in 2010-11, which included two NHL clubs as well as Colorado's American Hockey League affiliate.  He spent the majority of the year with the Avalanche's AHL team, the Lake Erie Monsters, where he tallied 30 points (11g/19a) in 43 games.  Rissmiller has appeared in 192 career NHL games, tallying 18-28=46 points.  

July 13, 2011

Shane O'Brien
- Appeared in 80 games for the Nashville Predators this past season, notching nine points (2g/7a) and 83 penalty minutes.  His 80 games matched his career high set in 2006-07.  The Port Hope, Ontario native also dressed in 12 playoff contests for Nashville (0g/0a).  Selected by Anaheim in the eighth round (250th overall) of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, O'Brien has appeared in 379 career NHL games with Anaheim, Tampa Bay, Vancouver and Nashville.  He has totaled 10-54=64 points and 688 penalty minutes.  He has also skated in 40 career playoff games, recording two goals and three assists.
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