Colorado Avalanche: Joe Sakic Must Make a Move


After yet another loss, making it four in a row and eight losses in December alone, the Colorado Avalanche must make a change to try and turn the season around.

The Colorado Avalanche are a non-functioning hockey team. I don’t know why. If I did, I could get a job with the team and at least get to watch all the games for free.

It’s depressing to catalog where the Avalanche find themselves. Their 11-19-1 record has them dead last in the NHL by four points. At -34 their goal differential is also worst in the league.

We all know the team should be better than that. We have young players with so much talent. We have a new coach with simple systems and a new adherence to advanced statistics and analytics.

Yet here we find ourselves, nearing the halfway mark (10 games away) and so far out of playoff contention that you almost wish they’d cancel the rest of the season.

And that’s why GM Joe Sakic must make a move.

Rationale for a Trade

What’s wrong with the Colorado Avalanche is a system-wide problem. They can’t score, and they can’t keep goals out of their own net. You can’t pinpoint that on just one player or a couple of players — or even just the core.

Part of it is a locker room problem. The team lacks confidence. As veteran Jarome Iginla pointed out, if things don’t go their way, they get fragile.

That’s part of the reason Sakic needs to make a big move — we’re talking major trade here. The Avalanche are in a major funk, and they appear incapable of pulling themselves out of it. Those great young players need some fresh blood — either as new Avalanche teammates or on a new team.

More to the point, Joe Sakic has to prove his commitment to the team — he needs to show he has the backbone to make the difficult decisions. Joe forced Patrick Roy out — time to show why he was so convinced his vision had more merit.

As of right now, the wait-and-see approach reeks of defeatism.

By the way, here’s how it feels like the Colorado Avalanche season is going:

No, I have no idea what Matt Duchene was trying to do. Pretty impressive check on a larger player, though — even if he happened to be a teammate.

Potential Trade Scenarios

More from Mile High Sticking

Speaking of Matt Duchene, his name is often the first that comes up in trade scenarios.

I don’t like this trade idea any better than I did in the summer. Duchene is our best player, leading the team in goals (12) and overall points (22) despite having missed four games with a concussion.

However, that’s part of what makes him so enticing as trade bait. Matt appears to have the potential to soar even higher, if only he had the right teammates around him. A lot of people would like to see the Colorado Avalanche trade Duchene for a great defenseman.

What could you really hope to get in return for Duchene, though? The Avs lack scoring, so getting rid of their best scorer seems like pure folly.

Tyson Barrie is another name often bandied about in trade rumors. He’s meant to be an elite offensive defenseman, though I don’t scout his abilities that high. That said, trading Barrie for a true scoring forward seems a good move. It’s not like Barrie plays much defense.

Another move that makes a lot of sense is unloading goalie Semyon Varlamov. He has a high cap hit ($5.9 million), and the Avs can only protect one goalie in the expansion draft. If Colorado could get a really-good-borderline-great defenseman for Varlamov, it would be worth it. Calvin Pickard would show better if he had some support in front of him.

Captain Gabriel Landeskog often gets mentioned in trade rumors. He’s not having a great year. He only has nine points, though it’s true he missed 10 games with an undisclosed injury. Still, nine points…

Nathan MacKinnon is seen as the only untouchable. I question that, though. He seems to have a high ceiling, but the Edmonton Oilers can tell you all about first-overall draft picks who don’t pan out. Of all the Colorado Avalanche players, MacKinnon would be sure to yield the highest return. We’re talking a top-tier defenseman and a great prospect — maybe even a first-round draft pick.

Another option is replacing Jared Bednar. I’m not saying the Colorado Avalanche’s woes are mostly his fault. However, general convention has a GM replacing a coach first.

To be honest, I don’t think replacing Bednar would be enough of a move to kickstart the team. He already is the replacement coach.

Next: What's Wrong with the Avalanche?

Ultimately Sakic — and assistant general manager Chris MacFarland, I’m sure — needs to have a blueprint of what he/they wants the team to be. That way he/they can build the team according to that blueprint.

The bottom line is this: If Joe Sakic wants to be taken seriously as a general manager, he has to make a big move in light of the state of the Colorado Avalanche.