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Colorado Avalanche Trade for Kurtis MacDermid from Seattle Kraken

A fourth-round pick goes the other way

NHL: Los Angeles Kings at San Jose Sharks
pr 9, 2021; San Jose, California, USA; Los Angeles Kings defenseman Kurtis MacDermid (56) and San Jose Sharks left wing Jeffrey Truchon-Viel (63) fight during the second period at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto  
Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

The NHL offseason is here and it has been a crazy one so far. The biggest offseason story for Colorado Avalanche fans is what happens with captain Gabriel Landeskog. However, other moves are still being made too. Today, the Avs made a minor trade picking up Kurtis MacDermid from the Seattle Kraken. In return, they sent back a 2023 fourth-round pick. While the price is minor, this is still a very interesting trade for many reasons.

Kurtis MacDermid Newest Avs Member

MacDermid was selected from the Los Angeles Kings in the Seattle Kraken expansion draft a week ago. At the time, it seemed like a very curious pick. Even though the Kings weren’t flooded with talent, there were some younger or better options available. However, being able to flip him for a fourth seems to be a very solid pickup for the Kraken, who still have an excess of players.

MacDermid is a left-handed defenceman who is 27 years old. He was undrafted and after four years in the OHL, he signed with the Kings. He played two full seasons with their farm system, the Ontario Reign, before making his NHL debut in 2017-18. He would spend 2017-28 and 2018-19 splitting NHL and AHL time, before coming an extra NHL defenceman full-time after. Since his debut, MacDermid has played in 118 NHL games scoring six goals and 11 assists for 18 total points. Clearly, he is not a scorer. However, he has 151 penalty minutes in that time too.

Analytics and Fit

The puzzling part about this move is it doesn’t fit with what the Avs are trying to build it seems. MacDermid is a big body that is known to play a physical game with not much else to add. A decade ago, he would have been a known commodity. However, the game has changed and you don’t see too many players like him in the league.

That’s not to say there isn’t a place for physicality in today’s game. But you need to bring an extra element as well. Whether that be good with the puck and in transition or using your physical play to deny zone entries and separate man from the puck effectively. It doesn’t appear MacDermid does that too much, and analytically he is one of the worst regular NHL defensemen.

When looking at it this way, giving up a fourth makes very little sense. MacDermid will likely be the 7th defenceman and slot in when the Avs need more of a physical presence. However, one would think they could find someone to do that exact same thing for just cap space in free agency.

One of the things many fans thought after the Vegas Golden Knights series is that the blueline needed to be more physical and stronger on the puck. This may help the first part, but given the poor defensive impacts, probably not the second. At $875,000 the contract can be buried if things go sideways, but expect MacDermid to start the season with the NHL roster, even if it’s as an extra skater. One thing is for sure, Sakic has ventured from his usual path and it will be interesting to see if it pays off.