Colorado Avalanche Should Trade Veterans, Not Matt Duchene


Rumors are swirling that the Colorado Avalanche could make some major roster changes. The big names on the block? Matt Duchene, Semyon Varlamov, and Jarome Iginla.

It seems strange to think that Duchene, the cornerstone of the Avalanche organization since he was drafted 3rd overall in 2009, could wear another uniform, but it just goes to show you the desperate nature of the Avalanche right now. If fans had it our way, there’s no way “Dutchy” would be on his way out. But we’re just fans, so we don’t make these kind of decisions.

However, this is my article and I’m making the decision not to trade Duchene. Sure, he’s not currently worth the $6 million a season the Avs are paying him, but I’m not the one paying him, so I’m not really concerned about his money. It’d be cool if he went to management and was like, “Hey Joe and Patrick, I’m not really worth $6 million a season right now, maybe you guys can just pay me less and we’ll go from there?” but the NHL doesn’t work that way, and Duchene isn’t dumb.

I know that the Colorado Avalanche need to start cutting some money because Nathan MacKinnon is due a huge raise. They’ll also probably want to spend in the offseason in hopes of making the playoffs again, but trading Duchene should be their last cost cutting measure.

Their first? Trading Iginla.

More from Mile High Sticking

At 38 years old and owed $5.3 million this season and next, Jarome Iginla doesn’t fit with this team. He signed on as a free agent last season looking to latch on to a good team ready to make a run at the Stanley Cup. He chose wrong.

The Colorado Avalanche regressed last year, missing the playoffs, and the odds of them making the playoffs this year are about as good as me dating Taylor Swift. Iginla isn’t the player he used to be, but he still has a scoring touch and could easily put up 25-30 goals on a good team. Hell, he put up 29 goals last year on a bad team.

A team like Nashville could certainly use a natural right wing and an extra scorer. Anaheim is having trouble scoring right now and always looking to add big bodies. Iginla sure fits the mold for them. I’d also look at Ottawa as a potential suitor.

If I’m Sakic/Roy/Whoever else makes hockey decisions for the Avalanche (since they seem to have at least five guys with the title “Director of Hockey Management and Operations”), then I’m looking to offload any veterans that I can.

Iginla is the asset with the most value, but that doesn’t stop me from calling other teams and seeing if they want defenseman Brad Stuart. And when they get done laughing at me, I’ll tell them that I’m willing to eat some of his salary and take a 7th round pick in exchange, because a guy with a 12% chance of playing 100+ NHL games in his career is better than Brad Stuart.

Even though we just acquired him in the offseason and signed him to a five-year deal with a No Trade Clause, I’m trying to move Carl Soderberg. Like Stuart, I highly doubt any teams will listen once the name “Carl” leaves my mouth, but it won’t stop me from trying.

If a GM stays on the line long enough, I’ll offer up John Mitchell, a solid role player with a team-friendly contract. And when they agree to take Mitchell, that’s when I’ll once again hit them with a “Carl” and a “Brad” as an attachment player because I really need to cut dead weight and money.

I’m going with youth moving forward. The team isn’t winning with veterans, so we may as well see what we have with some of our young players.

We need to give Mikko Rantanen and Mikhail Grigorenko top-six minutes. We need to give Nikita Zadarov top-four minutes. We need them to make mistakes and learn from those mistakes in order to improve moving forward. You can say that it’ll shake their confidence, but can it be any worse than preaching “win now” and continuing to lose? To me, a bigger confidence boost would be making a mistake and knowing that the coach trusts enough to stick with you.

As Will Radke wrote less than a week ago, the Avs need to make things fun again. It’s no fun watching a team try to play rush offense with slow and methodical players like Iginla, Soderberg, and Blake Comeau playing top-six minutes up front. Or how about Stuart and Nate Guenin failing to make exit passes that kill the rush before it starts? You want to play rush offense, you utilize speed and skill up front. That’s why I’m trading veterans and going with youth.

Next: Duchene: Ball in his Court

I’m not trading Matt Duchene though. He’s not the problem in Denver right now. He’s a guy who plays his heart out and loves the city. He’s in the prime of his career and still has room for improvement. I’m keeping my young core together, especially considering that I’ve lost Paul Stastny and Ryan O’Reilly in consecutive seasons. I can’t afford to lose Duchene next.