The NHL Trade Deadline is quickly approaching, it’ll be here before you know it. Of course, with the trade deadline comes all the rumblings of who could end up where. For the Colorado Avalanche, this is no different.
They will be bringing in players, whether they’re from its roster or not. This includes Gabriel Landeskog who started skating for the first time since December. Cale Makar will hopefully be okay by then as he remains day-to-day. Darren Helm may be back by then as well.
We have already seen and heard of plenty of names rumbling around the Avs and their possible moves at the deadline. One move has already been done as they brought on Matt Nieto from the San Jose Sharks.
There had been links to several names but they are now off the board. These included Ryan O’Reilly, who is off to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Johnathan Toews will stay with the Chicago Blackhawks, as he deals with long-COVID issues.
So, are the Avs done? They don’t have a ton of assets to use but could utilize the LTIR for Erik Johnson’s $6M cap hit as he’s out until maybe the end of the regular season with a broken ankle. Let’s see the names besides the ones above they’ve been linked with already they could move toward by March 3.
Just please don’t trade away your first-round pick this upcoming draft, please.
The Chicago Blackhawks winger is looking to move on from the struggling Hawks team. His name has been flying around every big team and contender this year. It would be an interesting fit for Colorado as he could slot on the wing. Perhaps, it would move Mikko Rantanen to play center on the second line, hence sending J.T. Compher back down to the bottom six along with Evan Rodrigues once Gabriel Landeskog returns.
Kane has 14 goals and 21 assists this year with Chicago, including a hat-trick against another team he could be traded to, the Toronto Maple Leafs. He would be an Artturi Lehkonen-like deal being brought in as a rental for the year, as he is a UFA at the end of the season. However, a challenge in it of itself is Kane’s massive $10.5M cap hit. At 34 years old, he may not be what he once was, but could possibly make an impact in the Avs side.
Monohan’s recent move to the Montreal Canadiens from the Calgary Flames during the offseason has not panned out the way he’d hoped. At 28 years old, he is still in his prime compared to Kane. However, he has less experience this season as he’s been working through injury issues.
Hence, he has only played 25 games all year with only six goals and 11 assists. He would be more affordable at $6.3M and again, a UFA at season’s end. With his current status on LTIR, he may not even be available. But, if he is able to return from injury, he could step up and be a part of the Avs top six. We’ve already seen one former Hab do it, and he scored some critical series-winning goals for Colorado. Could Monohan do the same?
Random Flames Goal Of The Day— Robert Munnich (@RingOfFireCGY) February 19, 2023
December 20th, 2018. Sean Monahan shows off his hands and goal scoring ability in tight against the Lightning. pic.twitter.com/0njgc6OLhM
Those names have been confirmed to be linked with Colorado for a move. However, if we know anything about Joe Sakic and Chris MacFarland, they don’t move for the big-name players. Plus, the Avs don’t necessarily need anything more from their top six - just need to be healthy.
If anything, the depth of the Avs should be the focus. Should Darren Helm be unable to return, an additional name in the bottom six would influence depth scoring and be critical moving forward. Here are some ideas:
Bjugstad is stuck in the desert with the Arizona Coyotes and has had a pretty solid year in Tempe. The 30-year-old has 13 goals and 10 assists in 57 games in his first year on the second line.
His production has been solid and would certainly be desirable for Colorado’s depth. It would be favorable as well, taking away from a Central Division opponent who is in the race for Connor Bedard. Plus, his $900K cap hit plus being a UFA at the end of the season would be favorable for the Avs to pick him up for a playoff run.
Knock knock, Nick Bjugstad on the doorstep. pic.twitter.com/UXEEHzHTiS— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) December 2, 2022
Our own Jackie Kay has been a big fan and yelling from the rooftops to bring over the St. Louis Blues forward. I will echo said comments about bringing Barbashev over to the Avs to help with their forward depth. He remains with the Blues for the time being while many of their assets are being sold off such as Vladimir Tarasenko to the New York Rangers and the aforementioned O’Reilly.
The 27-year-old has 10 goals and 18 assists in 56 games for the struggling Blues side who are flailing around for the rest of the season. They’ll be looking to build for the future, which is something the Avs could struggle to meet demands for since they don’t have a ton of assets. However, the enticing $2.25M cap hit along with being a UFA during the offseason would give the Blues ideas of offloading him for their future. He would be phenomenal on the third line and could flirt with a top-six spot if need be as well.
Another Nick on the Coyotes roster comes with the last name Schmaltz who has also proven to be successful. On Arizona’s roster for the last five seasons, he has always produced at least 30 points except for his first year. Again, he would be useful in the bottom six.
At just 26 years old, he still has a lot ahead of him. It would be harder to pull him out of the Coyotes organization since he is under contract until 2026 at $5.85M. Therefore, Arizona would be looking for more from Colorado to get him, which they may not be able to offer.
A reunion could be possible for the Avs should they desperately need it in defense. Johnson could come back after his short stint with the Blackhawks. He was a nice addition to the side last year and filled in nicely in the run to the Stanley Cup.
However, Johnson is certainly not the best option available. Jared Bednar may want to reunite with players who know the system so he is an option. But, I believe Andreas Englund and Brad Hunt have slotted in well as seventh defensemen and could be utilized should they be needed in defense rather than bringing in additional players on defense.
Finally, a third Nick from the Coyotes is the last name I’ll mention for a possible trade. Nick Ritchie seems unlikely as there haven’t been any rumblings, mentions, or connections there at all. He also has been underperforming compared to the other Coyotes on this list. Therefore, just a hypothetical “out there” idea from yours truly.
The 27-year-old has only nine goals and 12 assists in 54 games and has not been living up to the hype he could have been when he was picked 10th overall in 2014 by the Anaheim Ducks. Plus, Ritchie plays on the wing and may not be what the Avs are looking for as they may look for more central players.
Guess who?— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) November 8, 2022
Nick Ritchie has been a force to be reckoned with to start the season. pic.twitter.com/EhLnuwQ5VB
Regardless, you never know what MacFarland and Sakic have up their sleeves. There could be another player not on this list nowhere near connected or rumored with the Avs and end up in an ‘A’ by the beginning of March.
What do you hope the Avs do by the trade deadline? Do they do anything at all? Play armchair GM and let us know in the comments below!