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Looking back at Deadline Day 2017

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How Cody McLeod haunts Colorado

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-St. Louis Blues at Nashville Predators<br> Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Watching Cody McLeod score the game-winning goal for the Nashville Predators on Sunday may have been the best moment of the season for Colorado Avalanche fans. No, I don’t need to tell you, “it was that kind of season for the Avs.” You watched the team, you already know it was that kind of season.

It was also a reminder that Joe Sakic could have done more at the NHL trade deadline.

Sakic traded McLeod in mid-January, much to the surprise of most. McLeod had no place on the Avalanche roster given the teams transition to speed and, at times, he didn’t appear to have a place in the NHL. The fact that Sakic was able to get something in return was a small victory for the Avs general manager. Felix Girard may never play a game in the NHL, but his potential is more valuable than McLeod sitting in the press box.

That deal gave me a bit of hope for the trade deadline. If Sakic could find a suitor for McLeod, surely someone would take a chance of John Mitchell or Blake Comeau.

At the deadline, Sakic managed to turn Andreas Martinsen into Sven Andrighetto. Martinsen was unlikely to be re-signed and Andrighetto put up 15 points in 19 games to end the season. Assuming Andrighetto makes it through the expansion draft, he should play a top-nine role for the Avs next season.

That deal shows that Sakic isn’t completely incompetent when it comes to navigating the trade waters. The rest of his deadline day proved that he still needs a life jacket, floaties, a snorkel mask, and immediate help from Pamela Anderson when trying to swim in those same waters.

He flipped Jarome Iginla for possibly nothing. If the Los Angeles Kings made the playoffs or if Iginla re-signs with the Kings, the Avs will get a fourth round pick. Despite Iginla’s six goals in 19 games, the Kings missed the playoffs. Following the season, the Kings dismissed Darryl Sutter as their head coach. Given the ties between Sutter and Iginla, it’s unlikely that he’ll suit up for Los Angeles again.

Those were the two major club moves Sakic pulled off.

Impending free agents John Mitchell, Mikhail Grigorenko, Fedor Tyutin, and Patrick Weircioch remained on the team. As did role players such as Blake Comeau and Joe Colborne.

I’ll forgive Sakic for not finding a taker for Carl Soderberg and Francois Beauchemin. Those are bad contracts for bad players. Unless Sakic was willing to give back his Conn Smythe trophy and the 1996 Stanley Cup to the Florida Panthers, there’s no way anyone would take Soderberg or Beauchemin.

But the other players? They should have found a new home.

We all saw them play this past season. None of them were good. Scouts saw them play. They probably didn’t think too highly of them. But it’s Sakic’s job to sell his players to other teams. Comeau was a penalty filled black hoke, but he had 36 points last season and 16 goals with Pittsburgh in 2014-15. Mitchell has proven to be a serviceable depth player in the past. Colborne had 40 points with Calgary last year and Grigorenko is only 22. These aren’t bad players. Just like Matt Duchene, Gabriel Landeskog, and Nathan MacKinnon aren’t bad players. They were simply stuck on the worst team in the cap era and gave up trying by December.

McLeod and Iginla proved that they still have something to give to a team that knows how to utilize them. Put any of those Avs guys on a team fighting for a playoff spot and watch them magically look like an NHL player again.

On deadline day, Sakic should have been collecting draft picks for impending free agents that will either walk on their own or should be shown the door without hesitation. Instead, he may have gotten absolutely nothing long term if Iginla doesn’t re-sign and Andrighetto is unprotected and then claimed by Las Vegas.