Following their Stanley Cup win, the Colorado Avalanche re-signed defenseman Josh Manson to a four-year contract.

Manson is 30 years old and was acquired from the Anaheim Ducks at the trade deadline. He had spent his entire career with the Ducks to that point, playing 453 total games with the team.

Upon joining the Avalanche, Manson averaged 17:24 per game in ice time during the regular season. He provided key defensive depth for the team during their playoff run as well. Manson’s deal will carry a $4.5 million cap hit.

Below, we take a look at how the deal looks for the Avalanche.

Josh Manson, The Player

Josh Manson isn’t necessarily the force he was a few years ago and his impact has declined a bit over the last few years in Anaheim, but he can still play an important role with Colorado. While he won’t produce much offensively, he’s defensively reliable and adds a physical presence.

The Avalanche paid a sizeable price to acquire Manson, giving up a second-round pick in 2023 and prospect Drew Helleson. The defenseman was originally selected 47th overall by Colorado in 2019.

Manson can kill penalties and is capable of playing top-four minutes with the Avalanche. The left side of the team’s defense group is undeniably stacked, with Devon Toews, Samuel Girard, and Bowen Byram. However, it’s not as strong behind Cale Makar on the right side, with only Erik Johnson as the other legitimate NHLer. As a result, retaining Manson does make a big difference in terms of the look of their blue line.

Colorado’s defense group is able to add offense with ease, with several great skaters and playmakers. However, Manson provides something that was missing, playing a heavier, defense-first game.

If he can stay healthy, he should be an important piece of the team’s blue line for the next few years

The Term

A four-year term for Josh Manson comes in right as expected. We’ve seen other defensive blue liners in Ben Chiarot and David Savard get the same term on their recent deals and it’s a fair length of a contract for the defender.

The term does carry a bit of a risk, given Manson’s age and injury history. He’ll be 31 years old this October and the physical nature of his game could continue to take a toll on him as he ages. That said, while there should be some fear of a decline, it’s a pretty expected length.

If Manson can continue to be a strong defensive presence, he should be able to provide decent value for most of the deal. It’s also a short enough contract that if he does see a decline, Colorado shouldn’t be locked into the deal for too long.

If Colorado wouldn’t have offered four years, there certainly would’ve been other teams willing to do so.

The Cap Hit

Manson’s cap hit did come in a bit higher than expected. For as well as he fit with the Avalanche, he was also only averaging about 17 minutes per game and really didn’t add any offense. As a result, it was a bit surprising to see it come in as high as $4.5 million.

His previous deal was also a four-year deal, slightly lower at $4.1 million per year. With Manson’s value arguably declining a bit, it seemed like closer to $4 million would be fair.

The Avalanche will be pressed against the cap for the forseeable future and they can’t afford to overpay on contracts. The cap is expected to rise but while it’s far from a bad price, it did seem a bit steep.

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Josh Manson’s No-Trade Clause

Josh Manson’s deal also comes with trade protection. The first two years of the deal include a full no-trade clause, which will be reduced to a 12-team no-trade list for the final two years of the deal.

A full no-trade clause doesn’t look great for a defender in his 30s who’s somewhat injury prone. That said, the fact that it opens up to become just a partial no-trade clause makes this a lot more reasonable. If the Avalanche needed to get out from under the contract in two years from now, a 12-team no-trade list should be easy enough to work around.

The full no-trade clause for the first two years is a bit intimidating but overall, the trade protection shouldn’t have much of an impact.

Manson was a good fit for the Avalanche after being acquired and played a role in their Stanley Cup win. He should take on a top-four role with Colorado and help them maintain their status as a contender.

Josh Manson should provide a steady defensive presence on a blue line that produces a lot offensively. There are some concerns about his age and ability to stay healthy, with the cap hit on the deal also coming in a bit higher than expected, but overall, it’s a fine contract.

Grade: B-