ENGLEWOOD • Back in his Colorado Avalanche playing days, Joe Sakic’s approach was pretty much title or bust.
As the team’s general manager, a similar feeling is beginning to develop.
Sakic and the Avalanche took a little time for reflection after a Game 7 loss to San Jose in the second round. That page has been turned.
The Hall of Fame player turned executive is focused on improving a team that’s been to the postseason in back-to-back seasons for the first time since he was on the ice.
High on Sakic’s to-do list: A deal for restricted free agent Mikko Rantanen and preparing for the draft, where the Avs possess the fourth (courtesy of Ottawa) and 16th picks. There’s also a multitude of players to consider retaining, which includes unrestricted free agent goaltender Semyon Varlamov.
“You’ve got to keep building and getting better,” Sakic said Tuesday. “As great as the end of the year was, we still didn’t accomplish the end goal.”
In 2018, Colorado was simply content with getting into the playoffs and lost in the first round to Nashville. This season, the Avalanche expected to make some noise, which they did by upsetting Calgary, the top seed in the West.
It’s easy to see why securing Rantanen remains high for Sakic: The forward is coming off a regular season in which he set bests in points (87), goals (31) and assists (56).
Sakic plans to meet with the coaching staff to make evaluations involving players under contract, restricted free agents (Nikita Zadorov, J.T. Compher and Alexander Kerfoot head the list) and those with expiring deals (such as Derick Brassard, Colin Wilson, Patrik Nemeth and Gabriel Bourque).
As free agency approaches, the Avalanche already have some players in mind.
Other topics he addressed:
• On a possible extension for coach Jared Bednar, whose deal is up after next season: “We’ll get to that at the appropriate time. ”
• On working out a deal with defenseman Tyson Barrie, who is a free agent after ‘19-20: “All I can tell you is he’s an incredible player”