With the NHL trade deadline coming up in mere hours, Joe Sakic and the Colorado Avalanche front office have to decide how many of their chips they want to push into the pot this season. With the Avalanche already among the best teams in the league, many fans believe that Sakic would do well to just stand pat at the deadline.
The team has already swung a couple of depth moves, trading for Devan Dubnyk as a third goalie option while bringing back Patrik Nemeth to shore up the blue line.
Now Sakic has to decide if he wants to make a bigger push or if he is comfortable with his team the way it is.
What could the Avs do?
Stand pat: With the addition of Dubnyk and Nemeth, Sakic accomplished what many thought he needed to. He grabbed a little depth on the back end and in net to protect against injury. The Avalanche are in first place, so why would he need to do more?
Add more depth: One more veteran defender and another versatile bottom-6 forward could likely be had for next to nothing. Adding a couple more guys as insurance couldn’t hurt. Something like a late pick for a guy like Marcus Sorensen or Andrew Cogliano might help further ease depth concerns.
Go all in: The Avalanche are true contenders. They’re the best team in the league and a favorite to with the Stanley Cup. Thanks to the young talent on the team, Sakic has built the Avalanche to have a very long and sustainable window of contention. That said, the window is open now, and it will never be wider than it is for the next couple of years.
If not now, when?
Big names like Taylor Hall, Kyle Palmieri and Nick Foligno are already off the board, so going “all in” becomes a lot harder.
The Avs could make a late push for one of the high-end players that are left. Someone that could make the forward group even more fearsome. Trading this year’s first round pick and/or a top prospect like Martin Kaut for a player like Alex Iafallo might make a lot of sense. Maybe it’s using assets like that to bring in two impact veterans like Mike Hoffman and Matthias Ekholm. There are still a number of options out there.
Last year, Tampa was viewed as the most talented team in the league. it still went out and spent two first round picks on impact players—and the gamble won it the Cup. Joe Sakic might decide he wants to do the same this year.
What should the Avs do?
There are a lot of fans on both side of the fence here. Many want the team to stand pat, as they believe this is already the lineup to win a Cup. Others are OK spending future assets to make an even stronger push.
The right strategy lies somewhere in the middle. Sakic should be keeping tabs on potential guys and make a bid. Hope to get good value on an impact player but don’t get sucked into any bidding wars. If that doesn’t work, moving down a tier and trading for a rental like Scott Laughton from Philadelphia might be the best case scenario. He won’t cost as much as the top names, but he has the ability to make a bigger impact than some of the guys that will cost a lot more.
If not Laughton specifically, someone like Mikael Granlund from Nashville might fit the role.
There are also a couple of names, like Mattias Janmark and Sam Bennett, to keep an eye on.
What will the Avs do?
No one should assume the Avalanche are finished. As contenders around the league start to stock up on impact players, it would behoove Sakic to do whatever he can to make the Avs’ lineup as strong as possible. Follow what Tampa did last season, and make the best team in the league even better.
Whether it’s a bigger move that makes an impact in a long playoff run or something smaller that protects against injury, it would be surprising if Sakic & Co. don’t swing another trade before the deadline at 1 p.m. MT this afternoon.