When it comes to the trade deadline, Joe Sakic has a tenancy to remain quiet. During his time as the General Manager for the Colorado Avalanche, Sakic has done most of his roster modification in the summer or early in the season. Last year as his team was fighting for a playoff spot, Sakic made a small trade - bringing in Derick Brassard to add a little big of forward depth.
This season, the Avalanche are in a much better position from a playoff perspective, though they haven’t been playing in a way that instills much confidence in the fan base. After a tremendous start to the year, the team has been around .500 since the start of December. Thanks to the points banked early, the team is very likely to still make the playoffs, however, something is going to need to change if they want to improve on last year’s playoff run.
The biggest need of improvement for the Avalanche is the special teams. Colorado is one of the league’s best 5v5 teams, however, they’re in the bottom-10 when it comes to both the penalty kill and power play.
One move that would have the potential to drastically improve one of those is a trade for San Jose Sharks forward Melker Karlsson.
The 29-year old is set to be an unrestricted free agent this summer and with the Sharks in full seller-mode, Karlsson is almost certainly going to be traded before the deadline.
Karlsson is a smart 3-zone forward who can play both wing and center but thanks to his less than impressive point totals, he’s not a player that gets a ton of attention - and one that will be an underrated addition by whoever gets him before the deadline. He only has three goals and four assists this season, but that’s not what the Avalanche would be acquiring him for - they have plenty of offense already.
Playing along side Barclay Goodrow, Karlsson is the catalyst of the best penalty kill in the NHL. The Sharks have been really bad this season, but the one thing they have been able to do better than anyone else is kill off penalties. Karlsson is a big reason why.
Karlsson would be the exact kind of depth pick up we’ve come to expect from Sakic. An unassuming player that would likely only cost a mid-round draft pick. He’d easily slot into a role on the fourth line while being ready to jump on the ice every time the PK1 is needed. Karlsson would also come with the added benefit of having played with Joonas Donskoi in San Jose last season - helping with the transition to a new team and city.
Trading for depth players like Karlsson is the type of move we’ve seen from eventual cup winners over the last few years. He’s not a big name, but the kind of player that adds depth to a lineup that is necessary for a long playoff run.
He’d likely come at the cost of Toronto’s third round pick, but the boost he’d give to the Avalanche special teams would be more than worth that price tag. It’s a trade most fans might not see as moving the needle, but the type of smart acquisition that would very much help the Avalanche as they look for improvements going into the playoffs.