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Mile High Hockey Roundtable: “I’m Here for my Teammates” Edition

Check out our thoughts on the Duchene saga, rookie showcase, and more

NHL: New York Islanders at Colorado Avalanche Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

If you’re Joe Sakic, what is a realistic trade you would accept for Matt Duchene?

Adam: Jake Bean and the Hurricanes’ 1st round pick in the 2018 draft. Carolina GM, Ron Francis, is unwilling to part with any of his core four defencemen, so why not trade for Bean. There has to be one odd man out once Bean comes into the fold and if Francis could turn that into an instant 1C, in Matt Duchene, he would be lauded. For Colorado, Bean fits into their rebuild timeline perfectly and they get an extra first - I am of the opinion that they should follow what the Cleveland Browns are doing in the NFL and stockpile as many picks as possible.

Jeremy Lambert: Ryan Murray and Boone Jenner from the Columbus Blue Jackets. Forget a draft pick. If the Avs could get a young winger and a young defenseman, they should take it. Make the two-for-one swap and call it a day. I know fans and Sakic don’t want anything less than a king's ransom for Duchene, but if that were coming, it would have happened by now. Sakic's leverage decreases with every “no comment” Duchene gives and it’ll decrease even more if Duchene doesn’t produce this season.

Cat Silverman: That’s the problem; what Sakic would realistically accept and what he may need to take in order to get a deal done aren’t exactly in the same realm anymore. At this point, it’s almost not even worth discussing. The bottom line is that the team let things reach a point where they no longer have any kind of upper hand in the situation; everyone on the planet knows that Duchene very publicly wants things to get done quickly, so other teams have zero incentive to bend to Sakic’s will. Worst case, they know that the player is highly upset, and can take the gamble on him mentally driving his own price down; teams are able to wait until what they want to pay is what the player is worth, taking that chance. They can wait, while the Avalanche really can’t.

Tom: If the Calgary Flames are actually in on Duchene - as has been speculated recently - I’d do everything I can to get Rasmus Andersson. The Flames are probably dangling Oliver Kylington as part of a package, but Andersson is the one I want. He’s 20, ready for the NHL and he has the skill to be an elite puck-moving defenseman in the NHL. A second round pick in 2015, Andersson isn’t necessarily a name the fans would get excited about - though they probably should. Gabriel Calrsson is a name frequently mentioned in Duchene rumors, Andersson is a lot better than him.

The problem is the Calgary organization loves the kid. If I can get the Flames to offer a package of Andersson and Sam Bennett I’d probably pull the trigger.

What player are you most excited by based on their rookie showcase performance?

Adam: Alex Kerfoot. It was refreshing this offseason to finally win something (i.e., the Alex Kerfoot sweepstakes). Kerfoot looks like he can slot into our bottom six and provide some youth to what’s been a senior’s home there for the past few seasons.

Jeremy: Kerfoot. He’s the only player that really stood out to me in a pretty poor rookie showcase. Given that he chose the Avs over the other teams courting him, I have to assume that he was promised a roster spot if he has a good showing at training camp. He certainly can’t be any worse than Carl Soderberg or John Mitchell were as bottom line centers last season.

Cat: Not to be the odd man out, but Nicolas Meloche really caught my eye during the showcase. He wasn’t as dazzling as Kerfoot or Greer or Compher or Jost, but he was just... solid. Mature. He looked like what you’d want from a blue liner on a team that badly needs someone who can read the opponent and make a solid defensive play.

Tom: Cat stole my answer. Nicolas Meloche is coming straight out of the QMJHL but he is closer to the NHL than many fans believe. I expect him to be playing RD on the third pair at some point this season. He’s skilled, poised, and would fit in nicely on the Avs second PP until right now.

Who’s the next Avalanche player to have his number retired?

Adam: Alex Tanguay. Tanger might not have been Av for his whole career, but his best years here were some of our best as a franchise. He ranks fourth among Avs all time in points (behind 3 players who all have their number in the rafters - Sakic, Hejduk, and Forsberg).

Jeremy: I have to agree with Adam, Alex Tanguay is the logical choice. There’s a chance it’s Rob Blake just because he turned out to be the missing piece to the 01 Cup team and a guy like Stephane Yelle was an underrated player on two cup teams. But Tanguay was a top six player almost from the jump in Colorado, part of the AMP Line (still my favorite line in hockey history), and the Game 7 hero.

Cat: Mikko Rantanen. I think players will be honored between now and then, but I honestly think the team needs to see someone win another cup - or at the very least get the team to consecutive postseason appearances after this hell of a nosedive - before they hang up another sweater.

Mike: I seriously doubt we see another jersey retirement for 15-20 years. The next one is likely somebody like Mikko or somebody who isn’t on the team yet.

Tom: What about Rob Blake? I know he only played a little more than four seasons in Denver and his best years were with another franchise, but here me out. The Avs retired Ray Bourque’s number after only being on the team for 15 months.

Blake is a Hall of Famer, one of the best defenders of his generation and he might have been the team’s best player during the 2000-01 playoff run that culminated with the second Stanley Cup in franchise history.

Who will finish below the Avs in the Western Conference?

Adam: Arizona (too young), Vancouver (no star power, aging roster), and Vegas (no first liners or top pairing dmen).

Jeremy: Las Vegas. Only because they are an expansion team.

Cat: Someone is going to finish below the Avs?

Joking, mostly. In all likelihood, the Golden Knights are going to finish exactly where they want, which is 31st out of 31 teams. The Avalanche would have to boast a repeat performance of this past year (which would be nearly impossible, even if they tried) in order to be worse than what Marc-Andre Fleury will be playing behind. Other than them, though, I don’t see many Western Conference teams that look bleaker. Arizona added a goaltender with significantly more consistency than Mike Smith (and a healthier center than Martin Hanzal, and Niklas Hjalmarsson), and Vancouver may just squeak their way into one final good year for the Sedins. Everyone else is either far enough ahead in their rebuild not to be a risk for a total tank, or too close to their playoff window to really finish outside of a wild card race (yes, even Chicago should be in the hunt).

Tom: Detroit instantly popped into my head, they are going to be really bad for a long time - of course then I remembered they’re not in the West anymore.

Vegas is a certainty. They are not going to be good - and it’s by design. I think the Canucks have a strong chance to be worse and don't sleep on Winnipeg - they have a chance to be sneaky bad this season.

Mike: I could see Vegas and Vancouver reaching rock bottom. Some interesting things afoot in other markets like Arizona and New Jersey that could see them challenge Colorado and other for the bottom 5 or 6 teams too.