The Colorado Avalanche made a splash in the early minutes of NHL free agency on Wednesday by nabbing defenseman Francois Beauchemin away from the Anaheim Ducks. The club signed the 35-year-old defenseman to a three-year contract worth $13.5 million. Beauchemin reportedly also received a no-movement clause.

They also signed forward Blake Comeau away from the Pittsburgh Penguins. Comeau’s deal is reportedly for three years with a cap hit of $2.4 million per season.

“Francois brings toughness, leadership and a veteran presence to our blue line,” Avalanche General Manager Joe Sakic said in a press release. “We are excited to have him as part of our defense for the next three seasons.”

Despite concerns about his age, Beauchemin will help solidify the Avs’ blue line and improve the club’s top four. Beauchemin is a gritty, good-skating defenseman that can eat up tons of minutes against the other team’s top lines. He comes with 97 games of playoff experience e under his belt.

The six-foot, 200-pound blue liner scored 11 goals and 23 assists with a plus-17 plus/minus rating in 64 games with the Ducks last season. He added nine assists in 16 playoff games. In his career, Beauchemin has 60 goals and 219 points in 673 games over the course of 11 NHL seasons. He has been with the Ducks for the last five years.

Comeau, 29, brings much needed strength the Avs’ forward group. The 6-foot-1, 202-pound forward scored 16 goals and 15 assists with the Penguins last season.

“Blake is a versatile forward who is dependable and can be used in all situations,” Sakic in a separate press release. “He will add not only scoring but also some grit to our lineup as well.”

Nathan is a staff writer for Mile High Sports. He can be reached on Twitter at @TheRealNatron.

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