For the next few days, NHL rosters are frozen in an tempt to bring stability to players and their families during the holiday season. So for at least the next three games, we won’t see any roster moves for the Colorado Avalanche. With that said, the NHL trade deadline is only about 60 days away and the second the calendar turns to the new year, roster movement is likely to pick up significantly.
With the standings as clustered as they are, this is going to be a seller’s market - something that could be advantageous to the Avs.
While Colorado has exceeded most expectations so far this season, we shouldn’t be under the impression that they’re something more than they are. They’ve been hovering around .500 most of the season but still sit in the basement of their division. The playoffs aren't a realistic possibility this season and with that in mind, we should expect Joe Sakic to be ready to take advantage of the market.
The organization has a glut of young players, both forwards and defenseman that have been bouncing in and out of the lineup this season, so it would be good to clear a few spots to make room for the likes of A.J. Greer, Chris Bigras and Vladislav Kamenev
Who Will Be Available?
The Avalanche don’t have a ton of pending free agents to be sold off as rentals. Blake Comeau, Nail Yakupov and Mark Barberio are the only unrestricted free agents this summer, so they’ll be first on Sakic’s list to move.
It is a near certainty that Comeau will be in a new city by the deadline. The veteran winger still has a lot to bring to a team that is looking for a stabilizing bottom-6 presence. He also happens to be having his best offensive season in a long while. Comeau is a high-end penalty killer and exactly the type of rental teams overpay for at the deadline. I think a reunion with Comeau and the Islanders makes the most sense, but there are a number of teams that would be interested. Sakic should be selling to the first team that offers him a second round pick for Comeau.
The young Russian has fallen off quite a bit after a surprising start to the season. His seven goals through 28 games puts him on a 20 goal pace. He still has the ability to drive coaches nuts with his play away from the puck, but there might be a team that is desperate for depth scoring that would be willing to take a chance on him as a low-risk rental. If the Avs can get a late round pick for Yak, it’d be a bonus.
While Mark Barberio has been driving Avs fans crazy this season, it’s not impossible to see another team looking to add him as a 6th or 7th defenseman going into the playoffs - particularly a team that is more analytically inclined. Barberio's 57.79 CA/60 is the second best on the team is second behind Sam Girard. What makes that more impressive is the fact that he starts 61.9% of his shifts in the defensive zone - the highest on the team. He has done a very good job of limiting scoring chances against at 5v5 and could bring valuable depth to a team hoping for a deep run this spring. He’s not a part of the team’s long-term future. Moving Barberio for anything would create a lineup spot for someone else who might be. Like Yak, if you can get any offer for Barberio, Sakic has to jump on it.