We are less than two weeks away from the NHL trade deadline, so we asked the MHH writers to tell us what they would like to see from the Colorado Avalanche.
If you were in Joe Sakic’s shoes, how would you approach this year’s trade deadline?
Isaac Greenwood: I would maybe set out to acquire a real goaltender prospect. I know the name Eric Comrie is thrown around a lot, and I think Sakic should at least give Winnipeg a call. The Avs have some picks to work with, so I’d be alright with Joe dangling a few of those rather than prospects.
Jackie: Sell, sell, sell! Anyone on expiring contract should be on the table. Don't let a season on the playoff bubble deter from the plan and bigger picture. The Avs only have one extra pick in each of the next two drafts so the focus should be on gathering assets at this time and opening up larger roles for the rookies and roster spots for prospects who are options for the NHL club next season.
Tom: Like Jackie, I would sell. If anyone calls for Mark Barberio, Blake Comeau, Jonathan Bernier, even guys like Yak or Nieto - sure, you can have them for a pick in this year’s draft.
Beyond that, I would try to prey on GMs that want to make a big push but don’t necessarily have the cap space to do it. Maybe the Stars are willing to give up a pick for someone to take on Kari Lehtonen’s contract until the end of the year. Get creative.
Sylvester: Nothing contrarian from me here: sell. I’ve been an outspoken believer that the Avalanche have already accomplished the one big thing that needed to get done this year: trade Duchene. The team got a king’s ransom in return, and I’m absolutely content with not making the playoffs this season. I’d actually be happy to stand pat (with maybe the exception of moving Comeau) and field offers as they come. But the heavy lifting was done the day Duchene went to Ottawa.
How many deals do you think that Avalanche make between now and the deadline?
Isaac: I doubt much is done. My gut says one or two guys are moved, such as Blake Comeau.
Jackie: Nothing from the NHL club, Sakic doesn't do the used car sales tactic well. There's always a handful of AHL deals which will set up minor league depth for the following season. So, nothing out of the ordinary.
Tom: This totally depends on whether or not Comeau and Barberio are able to get back into game action in the next week. If they are healthy, I would bet those two move. I am going to go out on a limb and say that Sakic makes one more beyond that. A young depth winger that might be buried on a deeper depth chart - someone like Nikita Soshnikov or Josh Leivo in Toronto.
Sylvester: I’d guess that a couple of NHL contracts get moved. Comeau is a pretty big contender. Sakic also might field some offers for Nieto from contenders closer to the deadline.
If the Avalanche were to fill one hole between now and the deadline, what would you like it to be?
Isaac: Like I said earlier, I’d like there to be a legitimate goalie prospect. Bernier’s contract expires soon, as well as Varlamov’s. Even if Joe brings both back, both Bernier and Varlamov are 29 and will likely only decline from here on out.
Jackie: Scoring winger with top 6 upside. Either in a shocking blockbuster deal for Tyson Barrie or a stalled prospect fresh start type deal for say Chris Bigras.
Tom: A scoring winger would be nice, but I’d like some attention paid to the bottom defense pair. Anton Lindholm and Patrik Nemeth simply aren’t very good. Finding replacements for them would go a long way in helping this team be a legit playoff contender next season. There are guys like Bigras, Meloche and Mironov in the minors, but I would be looking for young-ish guys that have established themselves in the NHL - this team has enough question marks. Guys like Alex Petrovic, Viktor Antipin and Colin Miller come to mind.
Sylvester: Has to be defensive depth. That third pair is pretty weak. The problem is, however, that 31 teams in the NHL are always looking for ways to improve defensive depth, so it won’t come cheap. I’d rather wait for the young guys coming up to develop than overpay at the deadline for help on D this season.
Give me one hot deadline take
Isaac: Matt Duchene is traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Pierre-Luc Dubois and a 2019 third round pick! Ottawa Senators go on a hot streak and make the playoffs! The Blue Jackets fall off the map, Duchene scores 2 points the remainder of the season!
Jackie: No rental will help a team win the Cup. It's all fools gold and selling hype to a fan base in buy now pay later type deals. Nothing good ever happens at the deadline except for the GM who laughs all the way to the bank.
Tom: The Montreal Canadiens trade both Max Pacioretty and Alex Galchenyuk - the first steps in a complete tear down with an eye towards the 2019 entry draft and young superstar Jack Hughes.
Sylvester: The Oilers will trade Leon Draisaitl at the last minute to a panicky playoff team that will grossly overpay for him.