While the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals are wrapping up, the Colorado Avalanche have already begun making personnel decisions for the 2012-2013 season. Two weeks after re-signing captain Milan Hejduk to a one year, $2 million deal, the Avalanche have extended restricted free agent winger Cody McLeod to a three year deal worth a total of $3.45 million, according to Adrian Dater of the Denver Post.
McLeod, 27, is one of the longest tenured players on the league's youngest team. He is known for his physical presence on the ice and adds toughness to the fourth line. A desired commodity at this year's trade deadline, the Avalanche held onto the veteran forward as part of their effort to add toughness to their forward corps. McLeod totaled 11 points last season (6 goals, 5 assists) and led the team in penalty minutes.
With this signing, Colorado still needs to make decisions on unrestricted free agent forwards David Jones and Jay McClement, along with defensemen Shane O'Brien and Matt Hunwick. There has been plenty of mutual interest with David Jones on a new contract, and it would be surprising if McClement and O'Brien did not return to the team for next season.
The bigger decisions deal with the restricted free agents. Star players such as Matt Duchene, Erik Johnson, and Ryan O'Reilly all need new contracts -- along with Ryan Wilson, Peter Mueller, and deadline acquisitions such as Jamie McGinn and Steve Downie. In all, Colorado has nine restricted free agents that are due for new contracts, and expect several of the above players to get multi-year deals this offseason.
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