It was, to say the least, a bit of a disaster in Colorado last season as the Avs fell from Central Division champs to outside the playoff bubble while finishing tied for 21st in goals allowed per game.
Not that all of this was Stuart’s fault, but it’s clear this was not a good fit for the 35-year-old.
Fast-forward to July 1, 2015, and Joe Sakic and Patrick Roy -- the Hall of Fame players behind the Avs’ hockey operations department -- rolled the dice again, this time signing free-agent defenseman Francois Beauchemin to a three-year deal worth an average of $4.5 million annually.
One wonders what the Avs will do with Stuart moving forward, but the bigger question is whether or not the Avs will have another aging mistake on their hands.
No question Beauchemin was a key part of an Anaheim Ducks team that took strides forward the past three seasons, finishing this spring one win away from a berth in the Stanley Cup finals.
Beauchemin, 35, received rave reviews for his work with an emerging young Anaheim defense corps. Beauchemin was instrumental in the evolution of defensive partner Hampus Lindholm, who put his elite talent and work ethic on display this past postseason.
But as the playoffs went along this spring, Beauchemin seemed to wear down and became less effective, especially in the Western Conference final against the Chicago Blackhawks.
With youngsters like Tyson Barrie and newly acquired Nikita Zadorov, 20, in the fold, Beauchemin will be counted on to be a role model on and off the ice in Denver, a role he is well-suited for. The issue will be come playoff time, if the Avs are back in the hunt, can Beauchemin deliver the top-four minutes you would expect of a player earning $4.5 million annually?
That’s a more difficult question to answer over the three potentially long seasons ahead.