Proposing Two Blockbuster Trades for the Colorado Avalanche

Jamie McGinn lights up Michal Neuvirth. Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Colorado is past the halfway point of the season and looks like quite a viable playoff contender. Last year, the team was holding itself above water at midseason with a .500 record, but the Avalanche went on to lose 13 of its next 15 games. With a late trade deadline last year, Colorado should have picked up the trade phones and stockpiled on picks in anticipation of one of the most replete NHL draft classes in recent memory. But they didn’t do much at the deadline, and were granted the first pick in the draft.

Fast forward to this season. The team has won more than twice as many games than lost. Additionally, three players are on pace to surpass the 60-point barrier (Matt Duchene, Gabriel Landeskog, and Paul Stastny). With that said, why would a trade be necessary for Colorado at this point? Simply put, there is a need for more offensive presence on defense. Erik Johnson and Jan Hejda have been breaking out this year (even if it is very late for Hejda to raise his game), but Johnson is on pace for a 30-point season, while Hejda isn’t even projected to hit 25, the bare minimum requirement for a player to be considered an offensive defenseman. Suffice it to say, this team has three great two-way defenders in Erik Johnson, Jan Hejda, and Cory Sarich, two sub-par offensive defensemen in Nick Holden and Andre Benoit, and one gritty, hard-nosed d-man in Nate Guenin.

So what is needed? A true, shot-blocking defensive-defenseman would do wonders for this team and would ease the pressure off of Semyon Varlamov. That is why I have proposed this first trade for a big time defensemen.

 

Byfuglien celebrates a game-winning assist against the Avs. Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

1. Paul Stastny, Jamie McGinn, Stefan Elliott and a 3rd Round Pick for Dustin Byfuglien and a 2nd round pick

A blockbuster trade like this would completely alter the Colorado Avalanche. First of all, no trade scenario could be devised without some verity: Dustin Byfuglien’s name has been often thrown around lately.

With this trade, the Avs would no longer have that massive surplus at center and the defense would finally be shored up. Everybody is ecstatic about Jan Hejda’s renaissance this year, but he is way up there in age and cannot perennially sustain this level of play.

A player like Byfuglien, whose physicality and fine two-way game are well-heralded, will do wonders in aiding Erik Johnson, who is starting to blossom into a top young defenseman. With Johnson and Byfuglien in the back end, Semyon Varlamov should have little trouble in maintaining his Vezina-like performance and the powerplay unit should be able to move up into the top-10.

Byfuglien would not come cheap, though. Losing a bright prospect like Elliott is already depressing, not to mention losing Stastny who has been such a great team player and leader this season. Losing McGinn will only be damaging in that it is another lost forward without recompense. Ultimately, the ends justify the means in this deal and Joe Sakic would be foolish not to pursue this route.

 

Of course, if the Avalanche decide to invest in their younger options (and they have a lot of options between Stefan Elliott, Tyson Barrie, Duncan Siemens, and others), they will be able to focus on bolstering the forward and goalie corps. That is why I have proposed this next trade.

2. PA Parenteau, Jamie McGinn and a 2nd round pick for Martin Erat and Michal Neuvirth

This has the potential to be a very controversial trade. First of all, it is known that Roy is disappointed in Jean-Sebastien Giguere. But the question is if he and Joe Sakic are willing to make a trade that would effectively end Giguere’s career. Enter this trade.

On the side of Washington, the play of Braden Holtby and Philipp Grubauer has deemed Neuvirth expendable. He has been a health scratch over the past month and has officially asked for a trade. In addition, Erat has been looking for a way out of Washington since he first stepped foot in the nation’s capital.

So why would Colorado do it? Well, it is always dangerous to overcommit to one goalie, especially with the playoffs on their way. Having two strong starting goalies will do the team wonders in the playoffs. Semyon Varlamov will no longer have to stand on his head day-in day-out. In addition, replacing Parenteau with Erat is not too devastating a blow.

Sakic and Roy are likely ready to cut ties with Parenteau and McGinn, so why not throw in a third round pick and end the Giguere experiment in exchange for another strong goalie, and a 32-year old scorer?

Who do you guys think is on the way out of Colorado and who would you like to see in Denver? Leave me a comment with your opinion. Thanks for reading!

Topics: Avalanche, Colorado, Colorado Avalanche, Dustin Byfuglien, Jamie Mcginn, Martin Erat, Michal Neuvirth, PA Parenteau, Paul Stastny, Washington Capitals

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  • Pivot

    I’m a Rangers fan and there have been links between the 2 teams all season. There was talk that Del Zotto would go to Colorodo but the Avs didn’t have a right handed defenseman that intrigued Glen Sather. Klein did and so DZ went to Nashville. However, the Rangers will likely need a Center unless they decide to keep Brad Richards contract. Which I doubt as much as I’d love to see Richards stay. Stasny would do real well in NY. What I think Sather should do is send Staal to Denver for Stasny. I’m sure other pieces would be included but they’d be the centerpiece. Staal is a top pair D playing 2nd pair mins because McDonagh is a stud.

    • ptbartee

      I really thought MDZ would be in an Avs sweater right now; the eventual Nashville trade surprised me considering how much these two have scouted each other, like you said. The Rangers definitely have the pieces necessary to complete a major trade with Colorado. I’ve heard of Dan Girardi floating around, but I’m sure NY will at least explore his interest in resigning before dealing him. That leaves Staal as a prime piece that would certainly upgrade our corps. And we need him–the Avs allowed way too many scoring chances, and Varlamov has been bailing them out all season. Given the Chris Drury saga in New York, do you think NYR fans would have any reservations about trading for another Avs center in Stastny?

      • Will Agathis

        I’ve heard a lot about Dan Girardi because he is a pending UFA, so he’s more likely gone than Staal, but as an Avs fan I’m very open to both options. I don’t think the Drury thing will change much. At the time he was signed as a VERY VERY expensive free agent coming from two different high voltage offenses (2006 Sabres and 2001-2005 Avalanche). I think the Rangers would be foolish to pass on Stastny and know that many other teams are desperate for a two way player like Pauly Walnuts.

        What do you think of my other two trades? As always, thanks for reading!!

    • Will Agathis

      As a Devils fan, I recognize Staal’s unbelievable potential that remains untapped. I never was that impressed with Del Zotto, but that the Rangers were absolutely gipped in that deal with Nashville. I was originally envisioning a trade involving MDZ and McGinn or maybe Parenteau. In any case, Staal would come very expensively but I would love (as an Avs fan, not a Devils fan) to see that Stastny-Staal trade. Both teams would be winners.

      As for the other two trades, what do you think?

      Thanks for reading!

      • ptbartee

        Will —

        1) I love the idea of trading for Byfuglien, but like Staal, I think he will be pricey. Personally, I actually think you have the Avs giving up a little too much for him. The Jets would love to add a veteran two-way center such as Stastny, and (depending on what they do with Kane and Ladd), McGinn could certainly find his way into their top six. Throw in an intriguing–albeit unknown–defenseman prospect in Elliot, and I think that’s more than plenty without even getting to the draft picks. I think Stastny + Elliot for Byfuglien would get it done.

        2) Love the logic of this one as far as Neuvirth goes, and i think it’s a solid bet Colorado seeks to acquire a solid younger backup option for next year until Calvin Pickard is truly ready. Personally, I think this trade favors Washington when you throw in Parenteau AND McGinn. I’d say either one is comparable to Erat, leaving the other top-six forward PLUS a 2nd being exchanged for Washington’s 3rd-string goalie (no leverage). I also wonder about Washington’s blue-line talent. If we’re throwing in the top-six forwards they want, would they be open to including a Mike Green or John Carlson? Just my two cents.

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