Will The Avalanche Be Buyers, Sellers, or Idle At The NHL Trade Deadline?

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 27: Paul Stastny #26 of the Colorado Avalanche warms up prior to facing the Winnipeg Jets at the Pepsi Center on December 27, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

The NHL trade deadline is nearly four weeks away and ever since the new Collective Bargaining Agreement the Avs strategy has shifted considerably when it comes to deadline deals. Back in the "good ol' days", the Avs roster was so stacked it generally only needed a piece here or there to make a serious run into the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Probably one of the most famous trade was the one which brought Ray Bourque to the Denver and landed the Hall of Fame defenseman his first and only Stanley Cup in his illustrious NHL career.

As you all know, with the introduction of the salary cap, those days are long gone. Some believe the salary cap is the primary reason the Avalanche have had such a hard fall from grace. Not being able to buy superstars at the deadline and make that push at the end of the season and win a championship. While I do think this has had something to do with our mediocre, at best, team it's not the main reason.

Ever since his retirement the Avalanche have been looking for that "go to guy" in net. The team has had some great goaltending since Roy, but nothing near the caliber of a Patrick Roy. We thought we had something in the neighborhood when the team signed Craig Anderson back on July 1, 2009. Turns out we didn't.

If you go back and look at the rosters of our team from the first season until the lockout, you could literally fill half of an All-Star team roster with the players in Burgundy and Blue. They all couldn't play forever no matter how much we wished they could. I really feel the team actually started it's decline following 2002-03, Patrick Roy's last season with the Avs. All of those years with trading away draft picks was going to come back and haunt us. It wasn't entirely known, at the time, to what extent though.

On July 1, 2011 Avs GM Greg Sherman did something the Avs had only done once (2008 to bring back Adam Foote) since the lockout, trade away a first round draft pick. This time he traded it to the Washington Capitals for goalie Semyon Varlamov. To this day some people think the Avs paid too steep a price for the unproven Russian net minder. Especially with goalies, only time will tell whether the Avs "won" in this deal. In the mean time, it appears that most people's fear of the Avs' 1st round pick being a lottery pick (top 5) will not happen.

This brings us to this year's trade deadline. The Avs currently sit in 9th place, just one point behind Northwest Division rival Minnesota. The playoffs are obviously well within reach, but does the front office of the Avs feel they are one, maybe two players away from making a serious run in the playoffs? Do they realize this team is literally packed to the rafters with young talent that should only need a couple years, at most, to really mature? Are they willing to jettison some of the team's overpaid talent *COUGH* Paul Stastny *COUGH* to get more draft picks, or more young talent? Over the next few weeks one thing is for sure, the rumor mill be turning at full speed.

What do you think the Avs should do? Trade some draft picks to make a serious run at the Cup? Continue to build for the future? Or hold what we've got and continue to build with the draft picks we have now?

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