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 /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
5 of 5
Next
colorado avalanche
Dec 11, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Morgan Rielly (44) skates with the puck as Colorado Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon (29) pursues in the first period at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports /

Trading for a Defensive Stud

More from Mile High Sticking

Last January, the Columbus Blue Jackets and Nashville Predators completed a blockbuster trade. The Jackets gave up their franchise center Ryan Johansen for Seth Jones.

Don’t minimize how important Ryan Johansen — RyJo — was to CBJ. They chose him fourth overall in 2010. He’s a big centerman with excellent playmaking abilities.

He was also wildly popular in Columbus. He even served as the captain of the All Star team when it was in Columbus.

You see where I’m going with this, and it’s not somewhere I want to go. To get a stud defenseman, the Colorado Avalanche are going to have to make a similarly painful trade.

They might have to give up their own franchise center, the equally popular and very talented Matt Duchene.

This trade has to be taken with extreme caution and with the same approach that CBJ took. At the time, Columbus had the worst record in the NHL (sound familiar?), and RyJo was struggling.

That second part doesn’t translate, and that does give us our second option — trading our actual captain (and also a very popular player) Gabriel Landeskog. Duchene has a higher return, but Landeskog might do.

What the Avalanche have to do is find a team like the Nashville Predators — one that is stacked on defense but that needs offense. The actual Blue Jackets come to mind, and I dream about wooing Werenski away with either Duchene or Landeskog being the price.

Ok, dream is a strong word, and even with all the ties between the two teams, it’s hard to imagine CBJ giving up that defensive stud.

I think the Colorado Avalanche would be crazy to trade within their own division or conference. You do not want to have to face Landeskog or, especially, Duchene all the time. (If Sakic could somehow fast-talk Arizona GM John Chayka into giving up Oliver Ekman-Larsson — hey he is a youngster — it might be worth it.)

Speaking of fast-talking, maybe Sakic could play a few rounds of golf with his old friendly nemesis, former Detroit Red Wings and current Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman. Yes, I’m looking at Victor Hedman. Yes, that’s crazy, but we’re talking Matt freaking Duchene here. Throw in the first round draft pick if necessary, but ask for a later round pick in return.

That probably won’t happen. However, I think it’s possible Sakic could have some serious talks with another old nemesis of his, Brenden Shanahan. Now I’m looking at Morgan Rielly.

Rielly would make an excellent partner for Barrie. He’s not overly big, (6-foot-1, 214 pounds), but he’s mobile enough to keep up with our rover. His hockey IQ is high. Again, it’s highly unlikely Toronto would want to move him, but, hey, Shanny, Duchene is excellent.

Justin Faulk out of Carolina is exciting — great skater and puck mover — but I wouldn’t give up Duchene for him. Landeskog maybe.

Here’s the trade I really want to see Joe Sakic pull off: Gabriel Landeskog for the Buffalo Sabre’s Rasmus Ristolainen. (“Really want” is strong — I’d accept it, though I don’t really want to see Landy go.) The big (6-foot-4, 207 pounds) defenseman has great two-way ability. He skates well enough to keep up with Barrie.

MORE FROM MILE HIGH STICKING: 5 AHLers to Play Now

Do I think Joe Sakic can actually pull off any of these trades? No, I do not, which is why I shudder at the thought of giving up Duchene or Landeskog. I just highly doubt he could get adequate return.

If Sakic could, though, the Colorado Avalanche would finally have a winning defense:

Erik Johnson-Nikita Zadorov

Tyson Barrie-Rasmus Ristolainen/Morgan Rielly

Chris Bigras-Sergei Boikov/other prospect

Colorado would have to get rid of Francois Beauchemin’s contract. However, they could follow the Blue Jackets’ lead there, too. CBJ bought out Fedor Tyutin’s contract last summer. (And the Colorado Avalanche promptly picked him up, but I’ve already gone over that mistake.)

What do you think, Avs Nation? Is this a Colorado Avalanche rebuild that could actually work?

By Nadia Archuleta for Mile High Sticking