Colorado Avalanche Trade Deadline: Will the Move be Big or Small?


The Colorado Avalanche have needs to be addressed, possible during the NHL Trade Deadline. Will they make big or small moves?

The Colorado Avalanche like to make a last-minute move at the NHL Trade Deadline, which is today. (I’m convinced it’s because that’s the only way GM Joe Sakic and head coach Patrick Roy can get that adrenaline rush from they’re playing days.)

Ok, that’s a joke. But it’s true that the Avalanche appear to be making space for something. They waived forward Chris Wagner, whom the Anaheim Ducks promptly picked up. That cleared up contract space. They tried waiving defenseman Nate Guenin twice, but nobody took the bait. Yesterday, they placed goalie Reto Berra on waivers — at the time of writing, no one had claimed him.

According to journalist Adrian Dater, something’s brewing:

And the Avalanche really do like to make a last-minute trade:

So, the question is — are the Colorado Avalanche clearing space for a big move, or are they just cleaning house?

Cleaning House

The Colorado Avalanche contract situation is messy — kind of like after Christmas after you’ve had lots of company and no chance to put away gifts yet, much less the decorations. (Or is that just me?)

Anyway, at the time of writing Colorado has 49 contracts on record — NHL teams are only allowed 50. That make it difficult for them during the trade deadline. However, it’s far worse for free agency pick ups in the summer. (True, some of those contracts are about to expire.)

So, it could be the Colorado Avalanche are going to make some small moves. As I observed in a previous post, Sakic and Roy (who’s the VP of hockey operations, meaning he has final say on personnel decisions) are trying to do two things at the same time — make the current Avalanche competitive while shoring up the future.

If the Avalanche make small trades, they’ll likely unload more players they have no intention of doing anything with in exchange for either picks or rental role players. They’ll make moves like the one that brought Shawn Matthias to Colorado — they gave up prospect Colin Smith and a late-round draft pick.

In that case, Duncan Siemens and Joey Hishon might be on their way out. Or it could be one of the players about whom we know nothing.

There’s not a lot of players on the current Colorado Avalanche roster who might find themselves traded:

Related Story: 4 Avs Possible on the Way Out

There are only a few players whom the team would almost certainly not consider trading, though:

Related Story: 5 Untouchable Avs

Nonetheless, that leaves a lot of room for a blockbuster trade.

Blockbuster Trade

The big name on the market right now is Tampa Bay prospect Jonathan Drouin.

Drouin has his own saga going on. Drafted third-overall in the same year as Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon, Drouin has been languishing with Tampa Bay. Drouin quietly requested a trade at the beginning of the season. His agent made it more public a couple months later. He’s currently sitting out part of the year rather than play in the minors.

What makes Jonathan Drouin so attractive for the Colorado Avalanche is the amazing chemistry he had with MacKinnon in major juniors:

Related Story: Avs and Drouin

Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman has said more than once that he’d prefer to trade Drouin sooner rather than later. A part of me was hoping he and Sakic sat down over drinks while Yzerman was in town anyway for the Stadium Series Alumni Game.

The other big name being associated with the Colorado Avalanche and trading is Edmonton Oilers forward Nail Yakupov. He’s been an underachiever since being selected first-overall in 2012. He would be a real boon to the Avs:

Related Story: 4 Forwards for the Avs

To get either Drouin or Yakupov, the Avalanche are going to have ti give up something significant. It could be a first or second rounder. It could be a hot prospect like Nikita Zadorov or Mikko Rantanen. It could be a current roster player.

Next: Is the Matthias Trade a Firestarter?

Next: Is a Quiet Deadline Better for the Avs?

If I had to guess, I’d say the Colorado Avalanche are going to clean house and just make some moves to improve the future — maybe get some prospects and draft picks for players that have no future in this organization. Colorado prefers to play it big at draft time and during free agency frenzy.

Those waivers, though, and Sakic sitting in his office on the horn just hours before the trade deadline — could be much bigger potatoes.