Colorado Avalanche Rebuild: Trade for Stud D-Man

Jan 6, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; Members of the Colorado Avalanche celebrate the overtime period win over the New York Islanders at the Pepsi Center. The Avalanche defeated the Islanders 2-1 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 6, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; Members of the Colorado Avalanche celebrate the overtime period win over the New York Islanders at the Pepsi Center. The Avalanche defeated the Islanders 2-1 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /
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Nov 21, 2016; Columbus, OH, USA; Colorado Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie (4) defends against Columbus Blue Jackets right wing Cam Atkinson (13) in the overtime period at Nationwide Arena. The Avalanche won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /

Fitting the CBJ Mold with Avs Defenseman

Here the Columbus Blue Jackets d-line again:

Zach Werenski-Seth Jones

Jack Johnson-David Savard

Ryan Murray-Markus Nutivaara

Here’s what that translates to:

offensive defenseman – talented 2-way defensive stud

veteran (under-30) 2-way defenseman – shut-down 2-way defenseman

poised young 2-way defenseman – puck-moving prospect

It’s going to be difficult to match that mold exactly. However, the Colorado Avalanche do have some of the same pieces.

Interestingly, the Johnsons match. Jack Johnson is the CBJ’s talented, veteran two-way guy. Erik Johnson is a smooth skater with excellent two-way skills. I’d say he’s actually an upgrade on Jack.

Tyson Barrie is also a true offensive defenseman. He’s a little older and a little smaller than Werenski, but he has been our Mr. Clutch.

Nikita Zadorov fits pieces of that mold. He’s much bigger than anyone on the CBJ blueline. He’s got a lot of shutdown potential, but he has two-way potential. He’s an excellent skater.

I still like him for EJ’s partner, and he does fit the CBJ mold. So, here’s what we have:

Tyson Barrie – talented 2-way defensive stud (needed)

Erik Johnson – Nikita Zadorov

poised young 2-way defenseman (needed) – puck-moving prospect (needed)

Before we go any farther, I’m going to alter the mold just a little and name the EJ-Zado pairing the first. No way any of us wants to see Barrie as the top d-man, no matter who his stud partner ends up being.

Now, for the bottom pairing, we might have some of the pieces already available.

Concerning our RFAs, both Patrick Wiercioch and Eric Gelinas are considered inconsistent defensemen with good size and some upside. Of the two, I prefer Gelinas, but the current regime seems to prefer Wiercioch. Either way, these guys should be in the seventh defenseman category.

The Colorado Avalanche have not been keen on drafting defensemen in the first round ever since the 11th-overall Duncan Siemens selection of 2011. All those first rounders that CBJ picked are going to be difficult to match.

That said, the best defensive prospect in the system is Chris Bigras. He’s not huge (6-foot-1, 190 pounds), but he’s a poised puck mover with good shut-down abilities. He could slot into the third pairing in the mold in place of Ryan Murray.

That leaves the Colorado Avalanche needing a puck-moving prospect and, especially, a stud d-man.

Concerning the former, it’s possible current prospects Anton Lindholm or Sergei Boikov could pan out. They’re both playing with the San Antonio Rampage. Though not under contract yet, the Avs’ 2015 second rounder, Nicolas Meloche, is another likely candidate. It’s also possible the Avs will have to bit the bullet and draft a defenseman in the first round this year.

However, that still leaves them with the toughest piece of the puzzle — a stud defenseman. And here’s where a trade will have to take place.