We are now down to only two weeks before the NHL trade deadline. Most years, we’ve usually seen a trade of substance happen by now, but this year feels a little different. With the standings so tightly packed, there are a number of teams in the same boat as the Colorado Avalanche.
Expected to be sellers when the season started, the Avalanche are currently only two points out of a Wildcard spot in the Western Conference. The sit within a group of teams that are within striking distance of the playoffs but might be better off taking a step back with an eye towards the future - teams like the New York Rangers, and Anaheim Ducks also fall into this category.
It still makes the most sense for the Colorado Avalanche to operate closer to sellers than buyers. Their window for contention isn’t here yet, so if they can get a couple assets for non-essential roster players, they should do it. The problem now is that their only two UFAs - Mark Barberio and Blake Comeau - have been out of the lineup with injuries. They won’t have any value as rentals until they get back into the lineup, and with the mysterious nature of their health, there is no guarantee that happens before the deadline on February 26.
While, the Avs are better off not doing anything of substance to try to get into the playoffs this season, there are number of names that have been mentioned recently that would fit nicely into Colorado’s core group - from both an age and need perspective. This week, we will look at a few players that would be intriguing trade targets for the Avalanche if they are on the market.
Over the weekend, Jeff Skinner’s name came up again in trade rumors. The Carolina Hurricanes winger is having an off year, but here is no doubt that he is a legitimate scorer in the NHL.
Skinner is exactly the type of player that could turn the Avalanche into ‘buyers’. He’s been around the league for a long time, but he’s still only 25-years old. He is coming off of a 37-goal season and could fill a massive hole in Colorado’s lineup as a legitimate secondary scoring threat. Carolina would only move him for financial reasons, something that wouldn’t be an issue for the Avalanche.
He’s fast, skilled, and would be one of the best possession players on the Avalanche. If the price isn’t too high, he would be a tremendous acquisition for both this season and the future.
The fit: A trio of Skinner, Tyson Jost and J. T. Compher would be give the Avalanche the dangerous second line they’ve been looking for this season. That's the ideal. Though there's a good chance Carolina would be asking for one of those two as part of the return.
The price: This is where it gets tricky. You’d probably have to start with a 1st and Tyson Jost and go from there. That price would probably get too high for Sakic and co. since you'd assume the Avs would be looking for a scoring compliment for Jost.
Likelihood he moves: Right now it sounds like it would be 40/60 at best.
Another young player that has popped up in the rumor mill recently is Max Domi. It stands to reason that he is available since the Arizona Coyotes have been horrendous this season, so everything is likely on the table. Domi is having a really bad season, so the question becomes; would the Coyotes trade him when his value is likely at an all time low?
He only has three goals this season, but Domi is a player that had 52 points just two seasons ago as a rookie. The talent is there, maybe he just needs a fresh start in order to get back on track.
The fit: Like Skinner, Domi is a guy that would look pretty good on the left side of a second offensive line.
The price: The Coyotes are going to have to take a huge leap next season, they are going to be looking for a return that makes an instant impact on their lineup. Maybe a deal centered around Domi and Tyson Barrie would work.
Likelihood he gets moved: Probably about 20%
A lesser option, Leivo is a scoring winger that wouldn’t make the kind of impact Skinner or Domi would, but he is a guy that would come a lot cheaper.
Leivo is a right-handed shot - something the Avs don’t have enough of - and is a guy that generates shots at a high level. At 5v5, his 32.16 shots-for/60 would put him third on the Avalanche behind only Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog.
Thanks to Toronto’s depth on the wing, Leivo finds himself in the press box most nights, but he is a guy that could definitely help the offensively anemic bottom-6 forward group in Colorado.
The fit: Blake Comeau and J.T. Compher are the only right-shooting wingers on the Avs. Leivo would give them a third. He can play both sides of the ice and has a wrist shot that would fit in very nicely on the second powerplay unit.
The price: Leivo could be had for a late round draft pick.
Likelihood he gets moved: Very high. He had requested a trade a couple weeks ago and now the Leafs are at the contract limit with Nikita Soshnikov set to come off the IR, so they’ll be forced to make a move very soon.
Petrovic is seen as a much smaller fish, but he’s a player that could bring tremendous value to a team. The 25-year old right-handed defenseman only has four assists with the Florida Panthers this season, and is a guy that seems to lack value to old-school thinking hockey executives.
His name was on the trade block earlier this season and even found his way into the press box for a few games - even though he is Florida’s best shot suppressing defenseman. Petrovic is a new-school shutdown defender that probably has a pretty low price tag.
He is an arbitration-eligible RFA this summer, so Florida is likely looking to move him before he is due a new contract.
The fit: He would be the perfect solution for the 3RD behind Johnson and Barrie
The price: He could probably be had for a 3rd round pick or a B-level prospect.
Liklihood he gets moved: Very high