DENVER -- The Colorado Avalanche retained the rights to 14 players Thursday, including forwards Milan Hejduk and Alex Tanguay and goalie David Aebischer. Not on the list were their two most notable possible free agents, Peter Forsberg and Adam Foote.
Under terms of the new collective bargaining agreement, teams have through Sunday to make offers to retain exclusive negotiating rights with players who were on their rosters before the lockout and are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents this year.
Forsberg and Foote were the two biggest names among Colorado's potential free agents. The Avalanche had no comment on the Forsberg and Foote negotiations.
Forsberg has said he would like to team up with fellow Swede Markus Naslund, whose rights belong to Vancouver. If neither is signed by his current team by Sunday, they will become unrestricted free agents. Both players can probably command the maximum $7.8 million contract under the new agreement.
Foote, who could likely command around $4.5 million for next season, told the Denver Post on Wednesday that he didn't know what his future held.
"My heart is with the Avalanche, and that's where I want I stay," Foote said. "I don't know much more than that right now, but I hope I'm back."
Also receiving qualifying offers were goalies Peter Budaj, Tom Lawson and Phil Sauve; defensemen Brett Clark, Jeff Finger, John-Michael Liles, Kurt Sauer and Karlis Skrastins; and forwards Riku Hahl, Dan Hinote and Marek Svatos.
"This represents another step we must take in putting together the 2005-06 Avalanche team while maintaining the rights to players key to our organizational depth chart," Avalanche general manager Pierre Lacroix said in a statement.