The Colorado Avalanche announced Wednesday that the team has signed defenseman Samuel Girard to a seven-year contract extension through the 2026-27 season.
Girard, 21, appeared in all 82 games for the Avalanche this past season, extending his ironman streak to 150 consecutive regular-season contests (longest active streak on the team). He finished second among Colorado defensemen with 27 points (4g/23a), surpassing his rookie season total (23) from 2017-18. The Roberval, Quebec, native finished sixth on the club in average ice time (19:53) and third in even-strength ice time (17:44). He added two assists (0g/2a) in nine playoff contests.
Selected by Nashville in the second round (47th overall) of the 2016 NHL Draft, Girard was acquired by Colorado from Nashville as part of a three-team deal with Ottawa on Nov. 5, 2017.
“Samuel has been one of our best all-around defensemen since joining the Avalanche,” said Avalanche Executive Vice President / General Manager Joe Sakic. “He plays important minutes and is someone our coaches count on to play against other teams’ top lines. He has an exceptional ability to skate and move the puck. As a member of our core, we felt it was important to sign him to a long-term deal and we are excited to announce this extension.”
Girard committed only three minor penalties during the 2018-19 campaign, as he and Chicago’s Dominik Kahun were the only NHL players to play all 82 games with six or fewer penalty minutes. Girard’s 19:53 of ice time was the second-highest average of any player who had six or fewer PIM, as Pittsburgh’s Justin Schultz committed only two minors while averaging 20:30.
Girard has tallied 50 points (8g/42a) in 155 career NHL games for the Avalanche and Predators. He skated in all 68 games after being acquired by Colorado during the 2017-18 campaign, tallying 20 points (3g/17a) while averaging 17:42 of ice time. He became just the fourth Avalanche rookie defenseman to reach 20 points since the franchise moved to Denver, joining John-Michael Liles (34 in 2003-04), Kevin Shattenkirk (26 in 2010-11) and Ryan Wilson (21 in 2009-10). He appeared in 73 games combined between the Avalanche and Predators in 2017-18, tallying 23 points (4g/19a). Girard has also dressed in 12 career playoff contests (0g/2a).
Prior to his professional career, Girard played three seasons for Shawinigan of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League from 2014-17. He was named to the QMJHL’s First All-Star Team in both 2015-16 and 2016-17 after leading all league defenseman in scoring for each of those years. Girard also won the QMJHL’s Emile Bouchard Trophy (top defenseman) and Frank J. Selke Trophy (most sportsmanlike player) in 2015-16 and was named to the QMJHL All-Rookie Team and won the Raymond Lagacé Trophy as the league’s defensive rookie of the year in 2014-15.