Trade winds are blowing. On Friday, the NHL freezes all rosters until December 27th so that a bunch of millionaires don't have their holidays ruined by getting traded to Anaheim or something. Apparently, Mats Sundin is finally ready to make up his freaking mind and choose a team - likely Vancouver or the Rangers. If it's New York, the Rangers would need to clear out some
dead weight cap space first, leading to speculation that there will be some trades going down shortly. Although I don't really pay that much attention to trade rumors - that stupid Eklund site can drop off the face of the internet tomorrow for all I care (e4) - I'm going to dip my big toe into the waters for a quick test.
Simply put, the Avalanche need help. In my opinion, they absolutely have to get another scorer. The 2nd line of Wolski, Arnason and Svatos is okay in a pinch, but it ain't cutting over the long haul. The Avs could also use a big shot from the blueline, but I can't see that help coming via trade - they'll just have to make do with what they have. But without that scorer up front, this team is going to continue to sputter.
Who do we go after? I'm not qualified to speculate, although I have a really hard time picturing Chris Drury being the guy. Who we get isn't really something I'm going to worry about, but who would we give up? I'm happy to discuss that. Here's how I would break down our roster in terms of who is available and who is not. Francois Giguere probably looks at the team differently, but let's not be too hard on him for that error in judgement.
Stastny, Smyth, Sakic, Hejduk, Liles, Foote, Salei, Hannan, Budaj.
Many of these guys can't be traded anyway, but that's how I view the nucleus of the team as it stands right now. 4 forwards, 4 defenseman and a very good (and very underpaid) goaltender.
I'll Make A Deal, But It Will Cost You:
Wojtek Wolski. It would take a lot to get him from my team (hint: not Chris Drury). But he's there.
TJ Hensick. This may surprise you, but I feel that of the trifecta of young players on the roster (Hensick, Stewart and Jones), Hensick will be the best. Not this year, perhaps, but he's the one of the three I'd be least willing to part with.
Jordan Leopold. Leopold is on pace to score 13 goals, he hasn't missed a game due to injury all year, he's money on penalty shots, he's got a low cap number ($1.5 million) and he's a free agent next summer. I don't think the Avs will be able to re-sign him, and this means, despite their dearth of pp point men, Leopold would seem to be a prime candidate to be moved by the deadline. Fine, but you aren't getting him for free.
The Rest Is Fair Game.
That's right, fair game. Clark, Svatos, Tucker (please), Arnason (pretty please), Tjarnqvist, Raycroft, your pick of the Codys...there's something there for everyone. I'm not looking to clean house, but we need that scorer. We've got too many 4th line forwards (which we knew this summer) and we've got lots of capable defensemen. We can stand to lose a few. We need a guy who can put the puck into the net (the OTHER team's net, Mr. Hannan). And the sooner, the better.