Over the past couple of years, Joe Sakic has shown that he isn’t afraid to go after a rental at the trade deadline. Last year the Colorado Avalanche acquired Vlad Namestnikov in order to add some short term depth to the lineup. The year before that it was Derick Brassard.
With a number of big contract extensions due before next season - Cale Makar, Gabriel Landeskog and perhaps Brandon Saad - Sakic might again be looking to acquiring a player with a contract that expires at the end of the season.
With that said, let’s continue our look at potential Avalanche deadline targets with a look at Los Angeles Kings left-winger Alex Iaffalo.
LA Kings Director of Amateur Scouting, Mark Yannetti is one of the best there is at finding talent and he struck gold when he signed Alex Iaffalo as an NCAA free agent. The Minnesota-Duluth product, lead the NCHC with 51 points in 42 games during his senior year before making the jump straight to the NHL. He has been an impact player for the Kings ever since, but as an upcoming UFA, he will likely be on his way out of LA as the Kings are still rebuilding.
With eight goals and 21 points in 31 games so far this season, Iaffalo is a left winger whose game is built around his speed and hockey IQ. He is an effective forechecker who likes to put pressure on opposing defenders. He rarely turns the puck over and gets a lot of his shots on net. While his 5v5 offense has dipped a little this season - finishing has been a bit of a problem - as his shooting percentage is the lowest it’s been in his 4-year career. This means that he’s due for a hot streak.
He is also used on both the PK and the PP in Los Angeles. Playing as a a staple next to Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar, Iafallo has matched up against the other team’s best most shifts and is still running a CF% of 52.39. He has good defensive metrics and has positive results in the defensive results while on the ice.
Iaffalo would an all-around mid-six left-winger, who would be in the mold of what the Avs have brought in before. He would add scoring depth and speed while providing BEdnar with a depth option for special teams.
Having solid mid-six depth is never a bad thing come playoff time. His modest cap number $2.45 million can easily fit into the current structure of the team. Running four productive lines is key for having a deep run.
What about this:
Landeskog – Mackinnon – Rantanen
Saad – Kadri – Burakovsky
Iaffalo – JTC – Calvert
Nichushkin – Jost - Donskoi
If the Avalanche were to acquire him, Sakic would be able to negotiate with both he and Brandon Saad prior to July 1st and he could provide a cheaper option as the 2LW going forward.
As Iaffalo is a UFA, the Kings with a rich prospect system and limited in room with the big club next year, I wonder if this could be a salary in, salary out deal, with other depth added.
I also wonder, with the relationship between Sakic and Blake, is there would be any player for player trades that could help both teams out.
Here is my proposal: LA sends: Alex Iaffalo, Austin Strand RHD (NHL/AHL tweener) & Rasmus Kupari (2018 1st) for 2021 1st round pick, Conor Timmins, Pierre-Edward Bellemare & Tyler Weiss
The 1st for Iaffalo is the cost of addition. While I think its unlikely he re-signs, it gives you 20 games and a playoff run to convince him other wise. Maybe $4.25 m per for 4 years?
Conor Timmins is an NHL ready RHD prospect, a swap of him for Kupari, a forward who can play center or the wing, and is NHL ready, to me a good deal, also adds value to the Iaffalo part of the trade. Weiss is prospects that probably wont get a good look in Colorado due to its depth, so moving him and Bellemare for an AHL/NHL tweener in Austin Strand for added depth and space is a move that balances out the deal. Jost can step into Bellemare’s job and once JTC starts going he will be moved back to his normal 3C spot.
Other potential targets:
Is Alex Iafallo a good option for the Avalanche
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