We are now only three weeks from the NHL trade deadline. With four losses in the past five games, the Colorado Avalanche are looking more and more like they will be sellers - something we all expected would be the vase when the season started.
After going into the All-Star break holding on to the second Wildcard spot in the Western Conference, the Avalanche have come back to earth a little bit. They still sit only a point behind Minnesota but will go back on the road later this week and will be without Nathan MacKinnon for the foreseeable future.
It’s not the time to be a buyer at the deadline and it seems like both the team and their fans know it.
The fact that Joe Sakic is building a team that will be looking at a contention window from 2019-2024 is likely the reason we keep seeing Tyson Barrie's name pop up in the rumor mill.
The Barrie rumors aren’t going to go away until the deadline passes (or he’s traded). The latest team to jump into the fray is the Tampa Bay Lightning. There is a lot of talk that Steve Yzerman is looking to make a huge splash in order to put his team over the top for the next two seasons.
The name that keeps coming up is Erik Karlsson. If Tampa could somehow get the superstar out of Ottawa, they would be the overwhelming favorite to win the Stanley Cup both this year and next. The problem is that Karlsson’s price tag will be astronomical. It would start with Brayden Point and go up from there.
Enter Tyson Barrie.
A cheaper alternative that fills the same role as a right-handed puck-moving defenseman that would solidify Tampa’s top-4 as the best in the league. The Lightning are an intriguing trade partner because they have a glut of what the Avs are looking for - young offensively-minded forwards.
Guys like Anthony Cirelli, Taylor Raddysh, and Mathieu Joseph are very likely to be ready for the NHL next season and could be the foundation of a very nice package coming back to Colorado.
Asking price: A young scoring winger
Likelihood of moving: 50%
Then there’s the new - and weird - rumor from this week. The Colorado Avalanche have been tied to pending unrestricted free agent Michael Grabner. He is almost certainly going to be traded away from the Rangers, and the Avalanche have been one of the teams named as a potential landing spot.
At first glance this doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, Grabner is a 30-year old pending UFA that is likely going to serve as a rental for a playoff bound team that needs to add speed and penalty killing depth. The Avalanche aren’t one of the teams that are going to be looking at rentals, so this doesn’t seem to be a fit.
The one thing Grabner has going for him is speed. If Joe Sakic wants to build a lineup based on speed, Grabner might be an attractive acquisition. He is a much faster version of Blake Comeau that can produce a lot more offense. From that perspective, Grabner makes some sense for the Avs lineup.
Maybe the team decides to move Comeau to a contender for a late round pick, Grabner would be a great replacement - though it would make a lot more sense for Sakic to pursue him as a free agent in the summer.
Asking price: Middle round pick
Likelihood of acquiring: 30%
Speaking of Blake Comeau, if the Avs continue to lose with Nathan Mackinnon out of the lineup, it will become more and more likely that they decide to move the veteran winger. He has been added to a couple different “trade bait” lists and is the kind of player that gets moved without most of the league noticing.
Comeau will be the perfect fall back for a team that misses out on bigger targets. If he’s moved, it’s likely the trade will happen on deadline day.
Asking price: 3rd round pick
Likelihood of moving: 75%