3 former Colorado Avalanche players thriving elsewhere to start 2023-24

For a team that's trying to contend for a Stanley Cup, the Colorado Avalanche made a ton of changes this offseason. While many worked out, they are missing a few former players.

Colorado Avalanche center Evan Rodrigues (9) and right wing
Colorado Avalanche center Evan Rodrigues (9) and right wing / Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
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2. Evan Rodrigues - Florida Panthers

Every so often, even the smartest teams make moves or non-moves that make us question their judgment. The Avalanche seemed like the perfect fit to re-sign Evan Rodrigues. He's the type of low-cost forward who really fits a team with championship aspirations. He had 39 points in 69 games for the Avs last season, and he stepped up when players got injured. He ended up playing close to 18 minutes per game, which was his career-high.

It really surprised us when Rodrigues signed a four-year deal with the Panthers. While the Avalanche move made sense, it didn't make sense that the Avs could fit a $3 million per season deal. They seemed to choose Miles Wood, the speedster from New Jersey with maddening inconsistency, over Rodrigues.

Evan Rodrigues is 30 years old, so it could be as simple as the Avs looking to get younger. This contract will be judged by the way it ages, but for now, Rodrigues looks like a winner for the Panthers. He has 13 points so far this season, well outplaying his $3 million salary.

Meanwhile, Wood has five points in 15 games. Both players go through hot streaks, so maybe Wood has one around the corner, but Rodrigues is playing the way the Panthers hoped when he signed.