Colorado Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic got a vote of confidence from Avalanche president Josh Kroenke after the worst season since they relocated in 1995, the Denver Post reported Wednesday.
Though Kroenke called Colorado's 48-point season unacceptable, he said he still had faith in Sakic and cited extraordinary circumstances that included the abrupt resignation of coach Patrick Roy on Aug. 11 and injuries to starting goaltender Semyon Varlamov and defenseman Erik Johnson.
"Joe's leash hasn't changed at all," Kroenke said. "Nobody wants to get the Avalanche back to where they were, where we all expect them to be, more than Joe Sakic. We're going to continue to give him every resource at his disposal, and I'm going to help him in any ways he sees that I can."
Colorado will have the fourth selection in the NHL Draft, to be held at United Center in Chicago on June 23-24.
The Avalanche finished last in the NHL under coach Jared Bednar, who was hired after Roy's departure. After a 9-9-0 start, Colorado won 13 of its final 64 games.
"We got out and played decent hockey, say, through the first 15 or 20 games or so," Kroenke said, "and then the injury bug started to bite a little bit. We lost some momentum, and then the bottom kind of fell out. There's no way around that."
Sakic refused to trade any of the core players, including forwards Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog, saying he didn't want to make a move simply for the sake of making one. Kroenke said he agreed with that decision.
"Joe and I had lots of dialogue leading up to the [NHL Trade] Deadline and my only message to him was, 'Do what you think is right for the long term,'" Kroenke said. "If someone thinks we're in the fire-sale mode based on our record and you don't think the return is adequate for the player, then don't hesitate to just sit."
Sakic is a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame who was Avalanche captain when they won the Stanley Cup in 1996 and 2001. Sakic has said Bednar will return as coach.
"Joe Sakic, based on the position he was put in before the season, deserves a little bit of leeway, all things considered," Kroenke said. "The one thing I always will say about Joe Sakic is that no matter what's going on, Joe Sakic can look at it through the prism of wanting what's best for the Colorado Avalanche.
"I want to be sure that this staff, based on being in the tough position that they were, has a chance to get it right."
Colorado played as the Quebec Nordiques until moving prior to the 1995-96 season.