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Avalanche will have 'a lot of turnover,' GM Joe Sakic says

Focusing on younger players, not free agency @NHLdotcom

Expect the Colorado Avalanche to look quite different next season, general manager Joe Sakic said Tuesday.

"There's going to be a lot of turnover," Sakic told Altitude Sports Radio regarding the Avalanche, who finished 30th in the NHL this season. "We're going to get some younger guys in here. We're expecting to be a much quicker team and a much more competitive team.

"We're not going to be big players in free agency. We want to grow our kids and keep the youth movement going, and try and develop and have them grow together."

The Avalanche, who went 22-56-4, have a young core that includes forwards Matt Duchene, 26; Gabriel Landeskog, 24; J.T. Compher, 22; Nathan MacKinnon, 21; Mikko Rantanen, 20; and Tyson Jost, 19. 

Sakic said one focus will be on improving the defense. "That's a work in progress," he said.

The Avalanche have four defensemen under contract, according to Cap Friendly: Tyson Barrie, 25; Erik Johnson, 29; Francois Beauchemin, 36; and Mark Barberio, 27.

Colorado is expected to be $18.5 million under the projected NHL salary cap for next season. 

"We'll be on the phone quite a bit," Sakic said.

Sakic also expressed confidence in coach Jared Bednar, who was hired Aug. 25, two weeks after Patrick Roy resigned as coach and vice president of hockey operations.

"I believe that he deserves a chance to come back with a full summer to prepare," Sakic said of Bednar. "He knows the players, the players all know what's expected of themselves, getting ready for training camp. ... We're looking forward to a real good year next year." 

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