clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Twitter Tuesday: Trade deadline targets, predicting future contracts and the issue with special teams

New, comments

Plus, which former Avalanche player would save you if you were stranded in the woods

Pittsburgh Penguins v Colorado Avalanche Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images

It’s officially Day One of the NHL All-Star break and the Avs will cease operations until they return to practice on Friday. After three-straight wins, the team — and its fans — have got to be feeling pretty good, and the break presents a good opportunity to rest, recoup and reassess glaring issues on the team.

For example:

Indeed the Avs have struggled against their Central Division opponents. With the win over the St. Louis Blues on Saturday afternoon, it pulled Colorado to .500 against the Central with a record of 8-8-2 — which is its worst win percentage against a given division.

In short, the issue is that the Central is stacked with competition this season. Just eight points separates the last place in the division (Minnesota Wild) and a top-three spot in the Central, the closest such gap of any division — in the Pacific, there’s a 16-point gap; in the Metro, it’s a 20-point gap; and in the Atlantic, it’s 31 points.

So as you can see, the level of competition in the Avs’ division is the highest in the NHL, which naturally would present a problem for Colorado.

In particular, Dallas has presented the biggest issues for the Avalanche. The Stars recently swept the season series and only allowed something like six goals in four games to the NHL’s highest scoring team in the Avs. In this case, it’s the Stars’ stout team defense this season that was able to clinically shutdown and wear out the Avalanche in their four-game season series. After all, Dallas is the top-defensive unit in the league, allowing the fewest goals this season and the fewest average per game, while also have the best goalie tandem in the NHL (both goalies are sporting the same .927 save percentage and 2.29 goals-against average).

They say defense wins championships, and that was certainly the case for Dallas in the four-game series against Colorado this season.

Cale Makar, no doubt. He’ll also likely beat out Mikko Rantanen for the highest-paid player on the team...at least until Nathan MacKinnon is due for an extension in the summer of 2023.

Currently, the highest-paid defenseman in the NHL is Erik Karlsson in San Jose with a annual cap hit of $11.5 million, followed by Drew Doughty at $11 million and then P.K. Subban at $9 per year. It’s hard to say now if Makar will earn Karlsson-like figures, but halfway through his first full NHL season, it looks like he certainly deserves it. We’ll have to see if Makar can keep up this torrid, record-breaking pace he’s on through the next couple seasons to see if he’ll truly deserve a figure over $10 million per season.

Landeskog’s impending contract could potentially be his last. He’ll be turning 29 when he’s up for renewal and will probably look for the eight-year max to finish his career in Denver. You also have to factor in his captaincy status, which should earn him a bit of a higher “captain’s respect” figure. If I had to guess, I’m going somewhere in the realm of an 8x8 contract.

For Makar, it’ll be more like an 8x10.

I still stand by my comments that the Avs shouldn’t look for more forward help, but rather should target a veteran defenseman with some playoff experience to, 1) help the penalty kill, and 2) take the Avs deep in the playoffs. But I’ll play devil’s advocate.

If it were up to me, I’m looking at Chris Kreider over Jean-Gabriel Pageau.

Both would demand your typical trade deadline rental price tag. That is, it would likely take a first-round pick or a conditional and a prospect. And neither New York or Ottawa are in positions currently to make a run for the playoffs. That said, they’ll enter rebuild mode and ask for picks and prospects rather than rostered players.

Kreider has twice as much playoff experience — nearly 80 games — over his eight-year career in Manhattan than Pageau has in Ottawa. The latter is the purer goal scorer, but Kreider is a craftier option and could provide some nice depth on either power-play unit.

Joe doesn’t like giving up draft picks — we know that — but you have to pay to play. The Avs currently have a first-round selection and a third-rounder. That said, it’d be either a first and a mid-tier prospect like Nick Henry, or you’d have to go a conditional third and maybe a guy like Shane Bowers or Logan O’Connor. And no, Conor Timmins is off the table — we learned that when the Taylor Hall rumors were circulating. If Timmins was available, Hall would be in Burgundy and Blue right now.

I would like to see it, yes. I think if the Avs hope to make a serious push in the playoffs, a rental veteran D-man with some grit would help more than another depth forward, in my opinion.

The name Jeff Petry has been thrown around and that’d be my pick for the Avs. No, he’s not an exciting option — I’m sorry — but he’s the kind of boring, stay-at-home guy that Colorado’s blueline desperately needs. And he’s a right-handed D-man, of which the Avs have very few. I think you could flip Zadorov for Petry.

Either way, both Z’s and Marc Barberio’s days in Denver are likely over at the conclusion of this season.

What the Avs should be targeting are replacements for Ray Bennett, who runs the team’s power play, and Nolan Pratt, who is in charge of the defense and penalty kill.

I’m not sure there’s any one player that could be targeted to help the Avs abysmal special teams this season. I mean, Colorado has thrown literally all its firepower on the power play and, still, can’t get the job done. I mean, you have MacKinnon, Landeskog, Rantanen, Makar and Nazem Kadri as your top unit and they still can’t get it done (?!).

The power play finally cashed in on power-play opportunity yesterday afternoon against Detroit, which was just the second man-advantage goal since the first game of the 2020 calendar against St. Louis. In total, the Avs are 2-for-25 since then, which is the league’s worst power play during that span.

So to answer your question, well, I really can’t. Not sure how to fix the special team’s unless there’s a total overhaul of the coaching staff after this season. You just got to hope a few of them start going in for Colorado...

Yuri Terao by far has the most interesting and unique story of any Utah Grizzly.

Read more about his story here:

As far as the other Grizzlies, I think Tim McGauley presents an interesting option for the Colorado Eagles and should get a call-up soon. He’s having a career year in Utah, leading the team with 50 points while chipping in 17 goals through 38 games, all career highs.

As far as Avs prospects over in Utah, Ty Lewis is having himself a nice year, too. He leads Utah with 18 goals in 36 games.

Easy question. Peter Forsberg, no doubt about it.

I mean, does this not look like a guy who spends his free time exploring the Scandinavian mountains? This man could fight a grizzly bear if he had to and would give it a serious run for its money. I would imagine a mountain lion would present very little problems for Foppa.

DENVER, COLORADO, APRIL 3, 2004—Colorado Avalanche center Peter Forsberg poses for a portrait for use on the cover of the 2004 Avalanche Playoff Preview section. (DENVER POST STAFF PHOTO BY GLENN ASAKAWA) Photo By Glenn Asakawa/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Any more questions, comments or concerns? Feel free to hit up @0ffScottFree on Twitter any time!