Jared Bednar has been a staple of the Colorado Avalanche organization since the 2015-16 season. Thanks to a new extension, he will be around through at least the 2026-27 season.
Bednar, who is already the winningest coach in the history of the franchise, earned a new three-year pact thanks in part to a Stanley Cup Championship run in 2021-22. It also brings continued stability to one of the top franchises in the league. We always underline the best Avalanche players of all time, but the team’s success wouldn’t be complete without Bednar’s contribution.
History of Bednar
Bednar began his coaching career as an assistant for the ECHL’s South Carolina Stingrays in the 2002-03 season. This came after a decade-long career bouncing between the ECHl and AHL, finally calling it quits after a few full seasons with the Stingrays.
Bednar would develop over five years as an assistant before taking on the head coaching role in 2007-08. In just his second season, he would lead the Stingrays to a championship before taking his talents to the next level.
He began his AHL career in the 2009-10 season as an assistant with the Abbotsford Heat. It would take just one year before others in the AHL realized the talent and potential he possessed. In 2010-11, Bednar would take over as the head man for the Peoria Rivermen for two seasons, managing one playoff appearance.
Bednar would revert back to being an AHL assistant for two seasons with the Springfield Falcons before taking over the head coaching role in 2014-15. In just his second year behind the bench, his first with Colorado’s affiliate in Lake Erie, Bednar would lead his team to a Calder Cup championship.
The Avalanche, in the middle of a transition, decided it was time to see what Bednar had to offer. He landed the job prior to the 2016-17 season, inheriting a talented but unproven core. The Avalanche were bad his first year – 22-56-4 – but that would be the last season of struggle.
Bednar and the Avalanche would make the playoffs in each of the next four season, losing in the Western Conference semi-final three consecutive years. Finally, in the 2022 NHL Playoffs, he and the Avalanche got over the hump and steamrolled their way to the franchise’s third Cup. If you bet on Colorado, you should back Avalanche for another Stanley Cup success.
LOCKED UP 🔒
— NHL (@NHL) March 21, 2023
Why this is a good move
There are plenty of reasons why this move is a great one for the organization at large. For starters, any time that a team can capture a Stanley Cup, you want to keep as many of the components in the mix as possible in order to make another run.
Bednar and the main core will remain intact for at least the next few years. With the same coach and star group in place, the Avalanche will remain deadly. Injuries this season have proven to be a challenge, but Bednar has been a guiding force and the Avalanche looks as dangerous as they did a year ago, capturing the Stanley Cup in the process back in June.
Jared Bednar (three year extension) has a lot of characteristics I really like a coach:
a) constantly helping defensively
b) playing best of all when tied, the most important game state
c) treating late ties and leads properly by allowing fewer chances pic.twitter.com/k0dksAm3Nx
— Micah Blake McCurdy (@IneffectiveMath) March 21, 2023
Another reason retaining Bednar is crucial is because of his role in talent development. The Avalanche have had many of the pieces in place to be a championship contender but couldn’t quite figure out how to put it all together until last year.
Sure, it helped to have Cale Makar in the lineup full-time. The ultra-talented defenseman broke onto the scene for good in 2019-20, putting up 50 points in 57 games en route to the Calder Memorial Trophy as top rookie. His breakout as a point-per-game defenseman last year was a huge reason for the success the Avalanche enjoyed.
That said, Bednar has played a crucial role in bringing names like Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen to reach their full potential. In just year two of the Bednar regime, MacKinnon went from a high-potential 50-point player to 39 goals and 97 points. He has since hit at least 93 points three times and looks to best that mark, currently sitting at 90 points.
Similarly, Rantanen took the leap in his second year under Bednar. He joined MacKinnon in the career-high club, posting bests in goals (31), assists (56), and points (87). During the Cup run of a year ago, Rantanen would better his goals and points totals, matching his career-high 56 assists.
While it would be easy to say that it was all on these talented players for finally figuring it out, Bednar and his staff played a pivotal role. With players like Makar and Alex Newhook, both of whom are under 25, there is room to grow and potential for Bednar to bring to life.
What does the future hold?
While a lot of things can change, the future looks bright for Bednar and the Avs. The young core is in place for the foreseeable future and Bednar clearly has their attention.
So long as this group remains together and healthy, there is no reason to believe that they won’t compete for Stanley Cups for a long time to come.
The Colorado Avalanche have signed head coach Jared Bednar to a three-year contract extension.
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) March 21, 2023