Incoming free agents add experience, winning pedigree to Eagles roster

Ryan Loberger

After making the move from the ECHL (formerly the East Coast Hockey League) to the American Hockey League, the Colorado Eagles will look to build off their successful inaugural season as they make moves in free agency. With the Colorado Avalanche’s growing prospect pool and elevated expectations, the Eagles have had to make way for incoming players.

Fans can expect to see some familiar faces that will be returning this upcoming season.

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Shane Bowers, Martin Kaut and Logan O’Connor are all talented young players who will try to crack a roster spot with the big club come training camp, but they may need another year of development in Loveland before becoming regulars in the big league.

hockey players skate
Martin Kaut chases after a Chicago Wolves player during the Colorado Eagles home opener Oct. 5. The Eagles fell to the Wolves both nights of the opening series. (Photo Courtesy of Colorado Eagles)

Free agency and signings reshape the landscape of the league for the following season. New players come in, and familiar faces depart. Fan favorites and two big pieces of the leadership group from last year will not be returning to Loveland next season.

Allstar forward Andrew Agozzino and defenseman David Warsofsky inked deals with the Pittsburgh Penguins and will be missed by the Eagles faithful.

Two Eagles were traded in the offseason: forward Dominic Toninato (via trade with the Florida Panthers) and Scott Kosmachuk (via trade with the Washington Capitals).

Toninato was traded for Florida/Springfield defenseman Jacob Macdonald, an offensive defenseman who scored 14 goals and 29 assists in 72 games for the Springfield Thunderbirds and added a goal in two games of NHL action with the Panthers last season.

Kosmachuk was sent to Washington along with two draft picks for forward Andre Burakovsky.

The Eagles also re-signed forward Michael Joly for the 2019-2020 season. The former 2018 Kelly Cup MVP recorded 15 goals and 15 assists in 47 regular-season contests last season.

Colorado also re-upped with defenseman Kevin Davis for next season. Davis, an offensive-minded defenseman, posted 15 points in 25 games for the Eagles last season and added 22 points in 27 games for the Utah Grizzlies of the ECHL.

Goalie Pavel Francouz re-signed with the Avalanche organization after a stellar season. Francouz was one of the top goalies in the AHL last season, and Avalanche General Manager Joe Sakic confirmed he will serve as the backup to Philipp Grubauer next season for the Avalanche.

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A new goalie tandem will be in place next season with Francouz’s call up to the NHL, coupled with the departure of backup goalie Spencer Martin. Colorado signed former Tucson Roadrunners netminder Hunter Miska to a one-year deal and added another European goalie with Adam Werner.

The Eagles also announced the signing of 2018 fifth-round pick Brandon Saigeon to a one-year deal. Saigeon spent the past season playing in the Ontario Hockey League for the Hamilton Bulldogs, where he scored 63 points (25 goals/38 assists) in 40 games. The 6-foot-2-inch centerman was then traded to the Oshawa Generals, where he recorded 29 points (12 goals/17 assists) in 28 regular-season games and added 16 points (six goals/10 assists) in 15 playoff contests. 

The Eagles added some veteran experience and winning pedigree with the free-agent signings of forward Jayson Megna and forward T.J. Tynan to one-year deals and defenseman Dan Renouf to a two-year contract. Megna, 29, joins the Eagles after notching 43 points (20 goals/23 assists) in 71 regular-season games for the Hershey Bears last season.

Tynan, a skilled playmaker, spent the past two seasons with the Chicago Wolves, recording 131 points (27 goals/104 assists) in 141 AHL regular-season games. Tynan was tied for third in the AHL in points last season with 71 and led the league in assists with 59.

Renouf joins the Eagles after capturing the Calder Cup championship last season with the Charlotte Checkers and the year prior in 2017 with the Grand Rapids Griffins.
Renouf, 25, tallied 24 points (two goals/22 assists) last season for the Checkers in 74 regular-season games and added three points (one goal/two assists) in 12 playoff appearances.

Today, the Eagles announced the signing of AHL veteran forward Erik Condra to a one-year deal. Condra has played a total of 309 games in the AHL, scoring 212 points (72 goals/140 assists), and 372 games in the NHL, recording 99 career points (40 goals/59 assists). 

The Eagles’ season doesn’t start until Oct. 4 at the Budweiser Events Center when they host the Stockton Heat. Expect more news to come. 

Ryan Loberger can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @LobergerRyan.