The Colorado Avalanche look to have made their final moves of the trade deadline with only a little bit of time left until the deadline. They’ve gotten another good forward in Artturi Lehkonen from the Montreal Canadiens, as first broke by ESPN’s Kevin Weekes. Habs will retain 50% of Lehkonen’s salary as well.
Montreal will retain 50 percent of Artturi Lehkonen's contract, per source.— Peter Baugh (@Peter_Baugh) March 21, 2022
Lehkonen, the 26-year old winger comes into the Avalanche side as a critical middle six piece. He will slot in nicely on either the second or third line, however Jared Bednar decides to use him.
He has been described as the “Finnish Valeri Nichushkin” with his stature and play style or a miniature Mikko Rantanen. Rantanen will thoroughly enjoy another Finnish player joining him in the Mile High City en route to a Stanley Cup run. Lehkonen will likely join the team for their game on Wednesday at home against the Vancouver Canucks.
He has been a shining star in a dark Montreal Canadiens side this season, standing out both offensively and defensively. His two-way dominance on the Canadiens will only be exemplified greater in Colorado.
I'm not exaggerating: Lehkonen has played almost every game this season and yet his results compared to his teammates look like this. pic.twitter.com/M8kaabu2Y4— JFresh (@JFreshHockey) March 21, 2022
Lehkonen this season has 13 goals and 16 assists for 29 points in 58 games. He’s on pace to have his best season since coming into the NHL, only a few points behind his season-best 31 in 2018/19. He’s also only five goals off his season-best 18 from 2016/17.
Going the other way for the Avalanche is Justin Barron, the young defensemen who played a couple of games in an Avalanche uniform this season. Barron was still in development for the Colorado Eagles and not close to consistently cracking the lineup this season. The Habs also get a 2024 second round pick in the trade.
This makes two Avs defensive prospects that the Avs have traded out of their farm system, both Barron and Drew Helleson. Joe Sakic has played his hand - it’s cup or bust this season for the Avalanche, if it wasn’t already.
The moves away from young defensive means that Bowen Byram is progressively getting better in his recovery. He was in a normal jersey this morning at morning skate but still technically on personal leave despite now taking contact. But it is good news that he will return soon, hopefully by the time the playoffs roll around.
Bowen Byram is no longer wearing a no-contact sweater. He’s back in the normal black. pic.twitter.com/ZNYhHm4Nrp— Peter Baugh (@Peter_Baugh) March 21, 2022
Just minutes after announcing the Lehkonen trade, it was also announced that Andrew Cogliano had been traded to the Avs from the San Jose Sharks, per Bob MacKenzie. Going back to the Sharks is a 2024 fifth-round pick.
SJ trades Andrew Cogliano to COL. Details to follow.— Bobby Margarita (@TSNBobMcKenzie) March 21, 2022
Colgiano, the 34-year old is a long tenured veteran that has the playoff experience that the Avs like. He also brings along some good numbers from the face-off dot, with an average 40.3% win rate this season. While certainly not the best around, it’s something the Avs have needed to work on and fill in, and this is what Cogliano does.
Andrew Cogliano, acquired by COL, is a depth defensive forward and PK specialist. Not sure how much he still has in the tank or if his skating is still a factor. Was OP in NHL 13. #GoAvsGo pic.twitter.com/txKDnj4h0p— JFresh (@JFreshHockey) March 21, 2022
Of course, the Cogliano move is nothing too special. He will bring in veteran leadership and grit when it comes to the playoffs. He will also give the PK some help as well if need be. Cogliano would have to stand out in a big way if he wants to be re-signed by the Avs, as he is a UFA at the end of the season. Cogliano will likely join the team for their game Wednesday night against the Canucks as well along with Lehkonen.