Should The Colorado Avalanche Trade For Jonathan Drouin?


Jonathan Drouin was the third overall pick in the 2013 draft, two picks behind former teammate Nathan MacKinnon. MacKinnon immediately jumped into the 2013-2014 Colorado Avalanche lineup, winning the Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie in his first season. Drouin spent that season back in juniors, posting better numbers than he did when he shared a line with MacKinnon.

Drouin made his NHL debut for the Tampa Bay Lightning this past season. He appeared in 70 games, posting 34 points. Those numbers don’t look great, but he was only playing 13 minutes a game. By comparison, MacKinnon averaged 17 minutes a game in his rookie season.

Drouin has been a healthy scratch for most of the postseason, where the Lightning are currently in the Stanley Cup Final. He’s appeared in three games and averaging just 11 minutes of ice time. Despite being in the Final, the Lightning haven’t seen much production from their third and fourth line. It’s likely that Drouin could help in that area, but he remains in the press box.

According to Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun, the former Halifax Moosehead is unhappy with coach Jon Cooper’s decision to bench him throughout the playoffs. Stanley Cup playoffs experience is invaluable. While he may not be able to contribute in a big way now, just getting the experience could serve him and his team down the line.

It’s possible that the relationship between Drouin and Cooper can’t be repaired. Cooper is unlikely to go, which means the 20-year-old wing could find himself on the trading block this offseason. If that’s the case, what would it take for the Avalanche to re-unite MacKinnon and Drouin in Denver?

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Ryan O’Reilly

The Hockey Chat reports that the Avs and O’Reilly are discussing a seven year deal worth $50 million. If that’s the case then O’Reilly isn’t going anywhere. But if the deal falls apart, which is always a possibility with O’Reilly and his camp, then the Avs will be in a position to deal him given that he’ll be entering the final year of his contract.

His impending unrestricted free agent status could make him difficult to deal, but if the Avs offered him up for Drouin, would the Lightning turn it down?

I think they would. Not because they wouldn’t love to have a player of O’Reilly’s caliber, but because they simply have no room for him unless they make another move that impacts their top six forwards. It’s possible they accept an O’Reilly for Drouin swap and then immediately ship O’Reilly elsewhere, much like they did with Kyle Quincey, but adding O’Reilly to their team either disrupts their top six or means they’ll be paying their third line center (either O’Reilly or Valtteri Filppula) $5 million or more.

There’s also the issue of cap space. The Lightning have little to no room to work with. So unless they’re willing to part with Ryan Callahan or one of their top defensemen, there’s almost no way this trade works.

The 10th Overall Pick + John Mitchell + Mid-Round Pick

The Avs hold the 10th overall pick in the year’s draft, but if they have a chance to get the #3 overall pick from two years ago at the expense of #10, why wouldn’t they do it? Obviously the Lightning would want more in return, which is why the Avs would throw in Mitchell.

Look at the Lightning’s core. They are young and talented. There’s not much room for improvement amongst their top forward lines and defensive pairings. But they need depth help. They need an established third line guy who can play in all situations, which is why they should want someone like Mitchell.

The extra mid-round pick would be a sweetener. That pick combined with #10 overall would allow the Lightning to draft two players younger than Drouin who they could bring along in their system while their current young core continues to log NHL experience.

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