I really like the general moves of the Avalanche organization... better to use pro scouts to try to find latent potential than to settle for overvalued #4 free agent defencemen. Poor value in signing do add up.
On a more general tone... cap space is now an hockey asset, as draft picks are, and the former seems often overlooked. That's why going for the long ball on low contracts can be viable.
One-way contracts mean nothing. All they mean is that you make the same if you play in the NHL or the AHL. Doesn't mean anything about making the team, etc.
It usually means a little bit. You don't make your owners very happy if you're routinely paying guys in the minors close to a million, when they usually make about $50-100k. Not good for the bottom line.
If it happens it happens, but this looks like they're actually planning on doing it for at least a couple guys. Unless they have a couple trades up their sleeves.
Avs have tons of question marks at D. The more options the better. Fine with this move. There's a good chance Elliott, Redmond, and Wilson are not NHL ready dmen. Holden could regress. Barrie could struggle. Stuart could still be bad. This adds one more flip of the coin so to speak.