clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

2016 Avalanche Trade Deadline Reaction Roundtable

New, comments

Colorado was one of the more active teams leading up to Monday's deadline. We break down each trade and take a stab at how they might affect the next 17 games, as well as the future.

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

1.) Shawn Matthias for a 2016 4th Round Pick


Earl06
It seemed like a bit of bait and switch when Avs management made it clear that there wasn't interest in rental players for picks and prospects then went out and got a rental player like Matthias for a 4th round pick. They qualified that by saying that top picks and prospects were off the table and this was a case of the team improving it's roster for a playoff run, which I can agree with. The narrative I'm going with is that he was a player the Avs probably had interest in last summer but the contract he got from the Leafs wasn't something anyone was going to match. Matthias is big and can skate, doesn't score much but puts up consistent depth-level points and can kill penalties. I think for the pole he's been put into - wing with Soderberg and Comeau -- he's a great fit. They still have the shutdown ability they had with Landy on LW and even though he's a downgrade talent-wise from the captain I think he can do enough to keep them scoring consistently. 13 games of playoff experience is a bonus that could come in handy. It's too early to tell whether there's a long-term fit in Colorado here but I wouldn't be surprised if he sticks around at a slightly reduced cap hit.

StephHouse
Matthias for a 4th seems okay to me. The Avs were seriously lacking in forward depth so they went and found cheap forward depth. There's a poor chance of a 4th ever seeing an NHL game so even if Matthias signs someplace else over the summer, this is likely fair value to fill a need heading into a potential playoff stretch. It's a nice move.

Murf
One of the biggest questions on 2015-16's Avalanche roster all season has been what to do with their third line. They started the year trying to throw super green Mikko Rantanen and Borna Rendulic into the deep end with pretty awfully results. The next three months have been a carousel of players better suited to other roles, and it's had a negative effect on what the team is able to do with other line combinations. With the addition of Matthias, Colorado has three ideal players on it's third line for the first time in years. They're big, decently skilled, move the puck up ice, and cycle in their own end. Matthias isn't a great scorer, but he's put up shooting percentages in past years that indicate he can he hot for stretches. Give me that that kind of potential, give me that high floor, and give it to me for a 4th Round pick. There's a tendency for rebuilding teams to get too precious with draft picks and mid-grade prospects. Eventually, you're going to have to try and compete, even if a Stanley Cup is likely out-of-reach. Let me know in five years if that 4th Round pick pans, but as a fan, I want to see this team take a shot at the playoffs.

2.) Alex Tanguay, Conner Bleackley, and Kyle Wood for Mikkel Boedker

Earl06
Superficially this is a rental for prospects, which initially turned me off to the whole thing. Boedker was one of the bigger names available at this year's deadline and it's definitely a win-now move by the Avs. My guess is that with "talent" like Polak, etc. on defense getting the prices that they were that the Avs figured jacking up the offense was the more cost effective road to the playoffs and I really can't blame them.

My view is that the Avs swapped an ineffective UFA that was not being re-signed for a much better UFA that may or may not be in the team's future plans. I do not count re-signing someone like Boedker into the value of a trade. When the Avs traded ROR to Buffalo they traded one year, the new contract is irrelevant. The price for this swap was two prospects, the top 2 picks in the 2014 draft to be exact, that were not in the top tier and no picks so that's getting off light in my book.

Conner Bleackley has taken a ton of heat in the Avs universe. For me, he seemed like a good pick at the time and nothing I've seen personally has changed that. He fit a need that they still have at center in the minors and in the bottom-6 but the Avs were not going to sign him for various reasons and so was totally expendable. That amounts to a 2nd round pick if the Avs had offered him a contract at some point. No idea what Arizona gets out of it if they don't sign him either. Doesn't really matter now.

Kyle Wood is a gigantic offensive defenseman that has some potential but looks like he will still be a big project even after turning pro. Sakic mentioned today that he was "a decision" to sign that they no longer have to make. If he turns into the next Rob Blake we'll regret this but it's a price for 18 games of a top winger these days.

StephHouse

Hoo, Boedker is the best player in the deal so the Avs Won The Trade. I'm pretty sure is how that works. There's a lot to unpack here. Boedker himself is fine and the value isn't bad from Colorado's perspective. He helps the middle of the forward corps no matter where he goes by pushing guys up or down, same as Matthias. It's the idea of the deal I'm not happy about.

First I don't have the emotional connection to Tanguay so much anymore. His play since his return was merely decent before falling way the hell off to...whatever it's been this season. It's really just nostalgia at this point, as Today Tanguay is a dude I don't want on my roster. With that out of the way it's easy to see how Sakic and Roy, guys he won the Cup with, might overvalue him. They let him loose anyway. That's a nice mindset to see. Just business.

On the other hand that's two very new prospects to the system in Bleackley and Wood. Some of the last of the Pracey Era. Wood I know nothing about, and Bleackley's up and down ride has been well documented, but I'm much lower on the mindset of giving up prospects to rent 20 games + playoffs if you get there of Mikkel Boedker on a season with a really low Cup likelihood. It's how the farm ends up depleted. Not THIS MOVE, the mindset in general. Team isn't ready to pay futures to rent for the playoffs.

Murf

This is a tougher one to swallow because of the sentimental connection to Alex Tanguay, but his game has been in a freefall all season, and the fact the Avs could get anything for him at the deadline is notable. To get a player back as intriguing as Boedker for the stretch run is, perhaps, even more impressive still. Yeah, he's failed to live up to his 8th overall draft position, but he's an all-world skater that put the puck in the net 19 times just two years ago and a consistent force on the power play. More importantly, he's about to go from a line of Shane Doan and Antoine Vermette to one with Gabriel Landeskog and Nathan MacKinnon. If there's scoring potential to be unlocked, that's how it happens. Most troubling about this trade is the white flag Joe Sakic is waving on the 2014 draft class. Ok, maybe you weren't going to sign Bleackley and Wood to contracts for next year, but that's a big problem. One perhaps best discussed in a different article.

3.) Eric Gelinas for a 2017 3rd Round Pick

Earl06
Gelinas has regressed about as hard as you can from putting up 29 points in his rookie season to healthy scratched most of the time this year. This is a faith pickup for the Avs, working on the assumption that whatever magic he displayed a couple years ago can be resurrected and that the Avs playing style will suit him a helluva lot better than whatever the Devils do.

That said, I have a good feeling about Gelinas working out for no reason I can explain. As much hate as Nick Holden gets, he's tons better than he was when he arrived in Denver. I've seen some Devils fans point to major loss of confidence as one reason for Gelinas' decline. If Joe Sakic trades for you and Patrick Roy puts his arm around you at practice and says he believes in you and tells you to just go out and play your game, you're going to have a fresh outlook on things.

StephHouse

At first I groaned at this deal since they've already given up their 4th, but then it came out that the 3rd is next summer. This deal is fine. Gelinas will help push guys out of the NHL roster that don't belong there. A 3rd is a fair price for an OK young RFA defender with a year left on his very reasonable deal. Like the Matthias deal, it's not going to have a serious impact, but its okay.

Murf

Again, you're getting NHL value out of a 3rd Round pick, which all you could hope to get from whomever you select there two years from now. Gelinas isn't a rental in that he has another year remaining before become a restricted free agent, so the team will be able to take a long look at him before committing any significant amount of money. I've heard the "Nick Holden with a slapshot" criticisms, and all I have to say is that this defense would be a lot better off if they had another Nick Holden on the 3rd pairing. Despite being a left-handed defenseman, I think he plays the right side so Chris Bigras can set up his slapshot. May also get a look on the second unit power play to give Francois Beauchemin a breather. This is a nice pickup for the return value, but it still leaves a lot of questions about their future plans on defense.


4.) Marc-Andre Cliché for Taylor Beck

Earl06
First off, M-A Cliche has been a solid player for the Rampage all season, scored 19 points in 38 games and added some leadery qualities. Other than not being as durable as you would like, there's not much downside to having him on your AHL squad. He will be missed, if he had been in the minors where he's better suited for the past few years I think both the Avs and the Monsters/Rampage would have been better off.

I've seen Taylor Beck a few times with the Milwaukee Admirals and he's a good AHL power forward. Right now his Pts/gm is right there with guys like Joey Hishon and Dennis Everberg so he's going to slot into a wing in the top-6 down there and push someone down into a depth role. He's an RFA so if he works out, super. I honestly can't recall anything about him as an NHLer but he's got 87 games of experience and probably steps into being one of the top-3 callups for forwards, something that Cliche definitely shouldn't have been.

StephHouse

Difficult to care any less about a minor league swap like this than I do. Cliche is out of the system? Traded him for who? K sweet whatever.

Murf

Having never seen Beck play, I defer to Earl on this one. Statistically, Beck looks like a good AHL wing with size and a bit of NHL experience. These types of players are necessary to have. Trading Cliché away leads to some interesting questions about when the team plans to do at center in its system. Right now, Sam Henley and Troy Bourque are the only AHL centers signed next season -- and that doesn't work. Julien Nantel of the QMJHL would qualify next year, but otherwise, the Avs are likely going digging in Europe again over the summer. They've got some work to do.

5.) Do these trades help the team make a playoff push this season?

Earl06

I think so, very much. Standing pat arrogantly wasn't going to get this done, it's given the Avs upgrades in several key areas -- depth defense, depth scoring, power play scoring -- that have been major concerns since the start of the season. Have they gotten better defensively like everyone thinks they need to? Nope. Let's hope everyone was wrong and adding more scoring does the trick.

I think making the playoffs is very important in the Avs management's minds, both for long and short-term goals. I'm sure they'd love to win a round or two of course, but getting in is the important part this year and these moves kind of reflect that. This is maybe 2/3rds of a cup team right now, but that last third isn't going to come if they keep hitting the links in mid-April.

StephHouse

Without question the team is better right now than it was a week ago. Replace Martinsen and Tanguay with Boedker and Matthias? Yes please. Add Gelinas on the back end? Sure, why not. Is it SIGNIFICANTLY better? I guess that depends on what significantly means to you. I would say not really, but it's somewhat better. Which is cool because the team had some needs that they upgraded on. I'm on board.


Murf

They have gotten better, if only temporarily and incrementally so. The good news is they did quite a bit more than their Wild Card competition; and while these three depth pieces aren't great on their own, I think they can allow the big names on the roster be better down the stretch. MacKinnon and Boedker on the same line are going to be breakaway threats every time they're on the ice, and Matthias is going to help get tough goals that weren't previously possible on the 3rd line. Color me skeptical about Gelinas being a defensive upgrade this season; but if this team is going to succeed, it's going to be despite that unit anyway.

6.) How do they affect the team long-term?

Earl06

Avs weren't going to re-sign Tanguay or Cliche or sign Bleackley so nothing there. I doubt they can create the cap space to sign Boedker long-term, so that's nothing too. I like draft picks and watching players develop so losing the 4th this year, the 3rd next year and Kyle Wood sucks but you'll have that. Matthias has a chance to be a role player for a spell and you need dependable guys like that for your foundation, but there's little chance he'll be the difference in a Cup final. Gelinas is the same. I'll wait until Taylor Beck plays a game for the Avs to make a decision on him.

Big picture: These are a bunch of complementary moves that are made to get Colorado into this year's playoffs while not sacrificing anything in the core assets. I like that they seem to have been more aggressive at this year's deadline and hope whatever comes out of this makes that core better and more prepared to win consistently and move towards the goal of challenging for a Stanley Cup. I also hope that making moves like this gives management more experience in evaluating talent for a situation where the team has specific needs to be filled for a playoff run. Maybe they already did, but as a fan it's nice to know that they can if they have to.

StephHouse

These moves in particular mostly don't affect the long term fate of the club, but I hope they don't make a habit of doing things like this until they're in a perennial contention kind of area, like LA or Chicago are. The Blackhawks can get away with loading up because they have a legit chance at a Cup. The Avs kind of maybe shouldn't be tossing away lots of picks and prospects to do that. (Although making it a prospect you weren't interested in re-signing helps.) Do this a lot and you end up with no farm system to back up a rapidly aging team.

Murf

I want to see this team making small risks to make the playoffs and I'm pretty sure that's not different for anyone else who follows the team. Losing two mid-round picks over the next two drafts isn't going to affect your farm system nearly as much as missing on a player like Bleackley. As long as the team drafts well with the picks they have and keep finding useful European free agents, this trade deadline will not have any discernible effect on their future outlook.