Keep or Trade?


With only 8 games left in the season and absolutely no chance of making playoffs this year (even Sunny Side agrees), it’s time to start looking at the summer trade season.  Due to all of the injuries concussions we suffered this year, the Avs have far more players getting regular ice time than they need.  Who deserves to stay, and who should go? 


Key Terms (just so everyone knows exactly what I’m talking about):

“Core Player”:  someone the organization can build around for the next decade (so not Hejduk).  Should not be traded for anything less than a core player.  Must have leadership qualities on and off the ice and could potentially be the captain or alternate one day.

“Top 6 Player”:  someone who has shown that they deserve to play in the top 6, not that they actually do (like Radar). 

“All-Star”:  top 1-3 players off any given team, even if they weren’t selected to participate in All-Star Weekend.  Must be an established and proven NHL player, not a draft pick.   

“Major Player”:  top 4-6 players off any given team.  Equivalent to a first round draft pick.  

“Duchene Wing”:  a wing that has great chemistry with Dutch, meaning they're fast and score a lot.  They're critical to the team because Duchene usually sucks without one of them.  However, they seem to break pretty easily.   

“Bubble”:  An expendable player who may or may not have a job next year, depending on how they play and who is higher than them on the depth chart.  

Player Analysis


#9 Matt Duchene:  If you are even thinking about trading him, you should be bitchslapped right now.  May eventually switch to wing, but since it hasn’t happened yet, I’m assuming he’ll be back at center next year.  My Opinion: ALL-STAR.  CORE PLAYER.  TOP 6 PLAYER.  Do Not Trade.  EVER!

#26 Paul Stastny:  He might be in the middle of a cold snap, but he’s still 2nd on the team in points.  When he’s on his game, he’s amazing.  Besides, I highly doubt anyone would take his salary in a trade.  Possible captain next year.  My Opinion:  ALL-STAR.  CORE PLAYER.  TOP 6 PLAYER.  Do Not Trade, unless there’s an All-Star coming back.  

#37 Ryan O'Reilly:  Great on defense, starting to find a scorer’s touch, and the hardest worker on the team.  He’s really turning into a great player.  I’d love for him to stick around and the Avs to go with a 1-2-3 offensive line punch, but Radar deserves ice time.  My Opinion:  MAJOR PLAYER.  CORE PLAYER. TOP 6 PLAYER.  Possible trade to a team that needs a 2nd line center and is willing to send a major player back in return. Expect me to cry for a week if that happens.

#38 Joey Hishon:  Top prospect who I haven’t seen play.  But from what I’ve heard, he’s a solid scorer who sees the ice well.  He’s only 5’-10”, so he wouldn’t bring any size to the team and may or may not do well in the lower, grittier lines.  May have to switch to wing.  Probably should play in Eire for a season due to age and Av’s depth at center.   My Opinion:  Judgment withheld until after I see him play, but definitely an exciting prospect. 

#11 Philippe Dupuis:  Solid 4th line center.  Been really quiet lately, mostly because he’s been a healthy scratch. Finishes checks, plays gritty, and scores on occasion.  My Opinion:  If he stays, fine.  If he goes, that’s fine too. 

#16 Jay McClement:  Even though he was brought in to help our D and our PK, he’s only been meh so far.  He’s had some good moments along with some bad ones – but mostly, he’s just invisible. Even though he’s a veteran presence on the team and is darn near impossible to injure, maybe we should look at moving him for someone else.  My Opinion:  Its either him or Dupuis.  Pick one. 


Center Recap: 

#9 Duchene – Keep

#26 Stastny – Keep

#37 O’Reilly – Keep

#38 Hishon – Judgment withheld until I see him play, but he should probably go to Lake Erie. 

#11 Dupuis – Bubble

#16 McClement – Bubble


Left Wings

#14 Tomas Fleischmann:  DUCHENE WING.  When he’s with Dutch, its magic.  Even with his concussion prone lungs, we need to resign him and keep him around.  My Opinion:  CORE PLAYER. TOP 6 PLAYER. Resign this year. 

 #40 Mark Olver:  DUCHENE WING.  The kid is small, but he plays big and has great energy.  I’m just not sure where he fits on the team if Flash and Ferris come back.  I'm worried he'd get crushed if he played on the bottom 2 lines.  My Opinion:  Keep him in the system – we’ll need him when the other Duchene Wings break. 

 #39 T.J. Galiardi:  Goes from good to invisible.  He’s been out injured recently so I haven’t seen him play much, but seems to check, shoot, and score well.  He’d be great on Radar’s wing.  My Opinion:  Keep him, but in the bottom 6. 

#12 Kevin Porter:  Plays hard, scores occasionally and at key times (tied for 1st in GWG with 3).  Checks well, but his aim could use improvement.  My Opinion:  Keep him, but in the bottom 6. 

#29 Ryan Stoa:  He’s been putting up some decent minutes with Stastny.  Scores occasionally, but nothing special as of yet.  Due to his size, he’d probably be better utilized on a bottom 6 line for right now, but he may move up to Top 6 duty eventually.  My Opinion:  We should probably keep him around, but he could be good trade bait. 

#20 Greg Maulin:  It’s been a while since he’s played with us, but his speed, skill on breakaways and high energy level were all major assets while he was here.  His play dropped off in his last few games with the Avs, but I wouldn’t mind seeing him come back.  My Opinion:  Give him another shot.  

#7 David Van der Gulik:  I’ve not seen him play much, but I did like what I have.  He’s only 5’-10” so he doesn’t bring any size, but he has good energy and 3 points in 6 games with the Avs.  My Opinion:  Give him a shot to make the team.  

#55 Cody McLeod:  Goals by him have been known to happen, but his primary job is to check and punch people. My Opinion:  If someone else with more hockey skill can come in and be the “enforcer” of the team, get rid of Highlander.  If not, keep him on the 4th line.   

#28 David Koci:  Doesn’t help the team offensively or defensively.  Usually a healthy scratch and averages very few minutes per game.  All he does is punch people.  My Opinion:  Get rid of him.  


Left Wing Recap:

#14 Fleischmann – Keep

#40 Olver – Keep in System, call up when needed

#39 Galiardi – Keep

#12 Porter – Keep

#29 Stoa – Keep, but see what we can get for him on the Trade Market

#20 Mauldin – Call up if possible

#7 Van der Guilk – Call up if possible

#55 McLeod – Bubble (Upgrade if possible)

#28 Koci - Trade


Right Wings

#23 Milan Hejduk:  The only vet next year, a 20 goal scorer, and someone who makes everyone he’s on the ice with better.  He might retire soon, but he’ll play well right up until the last game.  My Opinion: MAJOR PLAYER.  TOP 6 PLAYER. Do Not Trade unless he requests to be sent to a Cup Contender (unlikely). 

#54 David Jones:  He’s had a great year – 24 goals (let’s hope he makes it to 30 because everyone knows 30 is different than 20) – and has been the most consistent player on the team through the slump.  I’m just not sure he can keep up this pace next season, but if he can, he’s a great asset.  His shots may not always be pretty, but they go in.  My Opinion: TOP 6 PLAYER (unless this season was a fluke). POSSIBLE CORE PLAYER. We should see what we can get for him, but do not trade unless a major player is coming back in return. 

#88 Peter Mueller:  DUCHENE WING.  I haven’t seen him play, but if he’s as good as everyone says, we need to keep him around.  Might be done because of concussions though.  We’ll see this summer.  My Opinion: TOP 6 PLAYER.  POSSIBLE CORE PLAYER.  Keep him around as long as his injury situation will allow.  

 #34 Daniel Winnik:  Solid 3rd line guy.  Plays tough, finishes checks, scores occasionally.  I’d like to see him on Radar’s wing or as an offensive asset on a hard checking 4th line.  My Opinion:  Keep him, but in the bottom 6. 

 #18 Brandon Yip:  He was decent at the beginning of the year, but has really become a liability (bad penalties, no scoring, little defense).  My Opinion:  Trade (for Crosby!) or send back to Erie.


Right Wing Recap:

#23 Hejduk – Keep

#54 Jones – Keep, but see what we could get for him on the Trade Market

#88 Mueller – Keep if injury allows

#34 Winnik – Keep

#18 Yip –  Trade


Defensive Defensemen

#6 Erik Johnson:  He might have some mistakes to work through, but he’s only 23 and will continue to get better. He’s putting up solid minutes every night and IS our defense.  His shot from the point is godly, and if it doesn’t go in, the rebounds are easy pickings for our centers.  My Opinion:  ALL-STAR.  TOP DEFENSIVE PAIRING.  CORE PLAYER.  Do Not Trade.  EVER!

 #3 Ryan O'Byrne:  He’s been having some bad games lately, but he brings much needed size to the blueline and works really well with Hot Pocket.  My Opinion:  Keep him with Liles. 

 #44 Ryan Wilson:  Might only be 6’-1” but he plays bigger.  Still fairly new to the NHL and has room to grow.  Feisty, good checker, makes some mistakes, but is a solid 3rd pairing defensemen that will give you decent minutes and will stand up for his teammates.  My Opinion:  Keep him as a #5-6 defenseman, but trade if we can get something better in return.  

 #43 Cameron Gaunce:  I’ve been really impressed with him so far.  He usually plays well and REALLY stands up for his teammates.  He’s young and will only continue to improve.  I’d be surprised if he didn't earn himself a spot on the team next year.  My Opinion:  Keep him and see what he can do as an NHL regular. 

 #27 Kyle Quincey:  He got injured before I really started watching the Avs religiously.  From what I’ve read, he can be a BMF, but he can also be so bad he requires an intervention.  My Opinion: I have some doubts about him, but I’m willing to withhold judgment until I see him play. 


Defensive D-men Recap: 

#6 Johnson – Keep

#3 O’Byrne – Keep

#44 Wilson – Keep or try to upgrade

#43 Gaunce – Keep

#27 Quincey – Judgment withheld until I see him play

*#52 Foote – Retirement imminent, not included in list. 


 Offensive Defensemen (Puck Moving Defensemen)

#4 John-Michael Liles:  Like Stastny, he’s on a cold snap right now, but he’s incredible when he’s on his form.  Hard worker, veteran player, solid scorer, possible captain next year.  My Opinion:  MAJOR PLAYER.  POSSIBLE TOP DEFENSIVE PAIRING.  CORE PLAYER.  Do Not Trade unless there is a major player coming back (NOT a second round draft pick!). 

 #50 Stefan Elliott:  The above point-per-game average and +62 in the WHL this year makes me really excited to see him play. Hopefully he can take away the sting of losing Shattenkirk.  My Opinion:  I’ll wait until I see him play, but I’m really excited about his future with the Avs. 

 #46 Tyson Barrie:  From what I understand, he’s basically an Elliott clone, minus 3 inches.  They’re competing against each other for top defenseman of the year in their league.  My Opinion:  Again, I’ll wait until I see him play, but I’m really excited about his future with the Avs.

 #10 Kyle Cumiskey:  He’s FAST and can score on occasion.  But he’s doesn't help out much on defense and is very concussion prone now.  My bet is that his career is over.  My Opinion:  Unlikely to return, and if he does, he’ll be battling for a spot.  

 #36 Jonas Holos:  I’ve been trying to watch him for the past few games, but for some reason, I can’t seem to concentrate on him enough to form a concrete opinion.  He does have some mistakes (some are glaring), and he does some things well, but mostly, for me at least, he’s just invisible.  My Opinion:  I’d like to see someone stronger on the 3rd pair, but if he stays, ok. 

 #48 Matt Hunwick:  Another guy that’ I’ve been trying to watch and just haven’t been able to concentrate on.  The only time I notice him on the ice is when he makes really obvious mistakes – and he’s had his share.  According to people that actually can notice him, he might be getting better, but he’s still nothing special.  My Opinion:  He could have a very hard time finding a place on this team.  Trade him if possible. 

Puck Moving D-men Recap:

#4 Liles -  Keep

#50 Elliott/#46 Barrie – Judgment withheld until I see them play, but one will probably be a regular on the Avs next year and the other will dominate in Lake Eire

#10 Cumiskey – Career probably over, Bubble if he can return

#36 Holos – Bubble

#48 Hunwick – Trade



#31 Peter Budaj:  Occasionally has great games, usually after a few games of rest.  Very smart goalie, has been credited with helping shootout shooters figure out how to react to opposing goalies.  Rebound control is a bit sketchy, but overall, a solid backup.  My Opinion:  Should not be more than a backup and should be upgraded if possible.  

 #30 Brian Elliott:  Apart from the 5 year age difference and worse rebound control, he’s practically Budaj’s clone. I’m not sure he’s as hockey smart as Budaj, but he probably has a higher ceiling, especially if he gets more NHL experience and a good goalie coach.    My Opinion:  Should not be more than a backup and should be upgraded if possible.

#64 Calvin Pickard:  Probably the most exciting prospect we have - he looks like he could be a great number one goalie.  Eventually.  But he’s too young for the AHL and isn’t ready for the NHL just yet. Give him a few more years before putting him in front of the Avs net.  My Opinion:  Eventual (hopefully) Number 1 Goalie, just not for a few more years. 

Goalie Recap:

#31 Budaj/#30 Elliott - Backup only.  Pick one and upgrade the other. 

#64 Pickard – Should not play next year. 


2011-12 Roster and Possible Lines 

All of that is fine and wonderful, but we need to keep the end game in mind:  the 2011-12 Roster.  The list of available players will change by the end of the summer to reflect our draft picks and (hopefully) our trades and UFA/RAF signings, but as of right now, these are the available players:

(Normal font:  Keep for sure, Italicized font:  Bubble or  upgrade if possible, Striked out font:  Either should be traded or kept in the minors to start next year, (R) Defenseman who shoots right, (L) Defenseman who shoots left)

Center:  #9 Duchene, #26 Stastny, #37 O’Reilly, #38 Hishon,  #11 Dupuis, #16 McClement

LW: #14 Fleischmann, #40 Olver, #39 Galiardi, #12 Porter, #29 Stoa, #20 Mauldin, #7 Van der Guilk, #55 McLeod#28 Koci

RW:  #23 Hejduk, #54 Jones, #88 Mueller, #34 Winnik, #18 Yip

Defensive D-men: #6 Johnson (R), #3 O’Byrne (R), #44 Wilson (L), #43 Gaunce (L), #27 Quincey (L)

PMD: #4 Liles (L), #50 Elliott (R), #46 Barrie (R), #10 Cumiskey (L), #36 Holos (R), #48 Hunwick (L)

Goalie: #30 Elliott, #31 Budaj, #64 Pickard


That’s a pretty hefty list for only 21 spots (12 forwards, 7 d-men, 2 goalies).  If everyone from our long-term injury list (Flash, Gali, Mueller, Quincey and Cumiskey) are able to return, this is what I would like to see as far as lines: 





Stoa/McC or Dupuis/Porter



OB/ Hot Pocket

Elliott or Barrie/ Wilson




Budaj or Elliott


However, since we can’t guarantee any of them being able to return (even though its highly likely most of them will), this is what we are looking at worst-case scenario. 


Olver or Van der Guilk or Mauldin or Hishon? or_______/Dutch/Duke



McLeod/McC or Dupuis/Porter



OB/ Hot Pocket

Elliott or Barrie/Wilson




Budaj or Elliott


 Based on that, this is what the team should look at acquiring this summer. 


#1 – Starting Goalie that can at least hold us over a few years until Pickard is ready to take command (Trade or UFA/RFA - Bryzgalov, Vokoun, Schneider, Quick, Varlamov, Harding, etc.)

#2 – Power Forward to play on Stastny’s wing (Landeskog, Courturier, Trade or UFA/RFA)

#3 – Top Pairing Defenseman for EJ, preferably a large PMD who shoots left (Larsson (R), Trade or UFA/RFA)

#4 – Another Duchene Wing (ours seem to break)


So, what do you guys think?  Who deserves to stay?  Who deserves to go?  And who deserves what spot next year? is a fan community, allowing members to post their own thoughts and opinions on the Colorado Avalanche and hockey in general. These views and thoughts may not be shared by the editors of

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