Colorado Avalanche: Analyzing the Cody McLeod Felix Girard Trade

Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports /

Colorado Avalanche fan-favorite, and grinding left winger, Cody McLeod was traded to the Nashville Predators for young center Felix Girard on Friday morning.

The Colorado Avalanche just made the first trade of many between now and this summer, it was just a bit smaller than some of the other ones are likely to be.

Yet, the trade still featured a fan-favorite, and a player who possesses a history with the Avalanche, Cody McLeod. In return, the Avs received Felix Girard, a 22 year old center from the Nashville Predators.

Let me set a few things straight first:

  • This was a good trade for the Avs.
  • Cody McLeod will be missed, but only his character, not his performance.
  • The trade only creates a little bit of cap space, but it’s in line with the attempted Eric Gelinas and John Mitchell moves on the waiver.
  • According to CapFriendly, the Avs now have 1,024,627 in cap space.
  • This move could have been a preliminary necessity in order to ensure that a bigger move can be made soon.

Folks, it was clear that McLeod didn’t fit the mold of this team anymore. His minutes were drastically reduced, he was scratched a bunch, and his performance was certain dwindling.

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In return, the Colorado Avalanche get a player who is ten years younger, and who can fill a bottom line role at the center position. John Mitchell is on his way out of the organization as well, and Girard can likely fill that vacancy.

However, this move also creates some room on the NHL roster for call-ups in the meantime.

The Trade Makes Sense from a lot of Different Angles

First of all, Cody McLeod wanted a chance at playing in the playoffs this season, and a trade to Nashville gives him that opportunity. In other words, Joe Sakic was respecting Cody McLeod in this trade, while also just making a smart move:

"After all the work he’s put in for the Avalanche, I asked Cody what he wanted to do. I was going to treat him like basically he had a no-move [clause]. I gave him the opportunity, I told him it was Nashville. I asked him if that was something he wanted to do."

The Colorado Avalanche also just snagged Matt Nieto off the waivers, so this move made some room on the NHL roster for a call up. I personally believe that move should involve Duncan Siemens:

Related Story: Avs Need to Give Duncan Siemens a Shot

However, there are really myriad options available in San Antonio.

The trade also makes sense from a cap space perspective, if the Avs do intend on making a move before the deadline. The Avs were right up against the cap before this trade, and would have needed to make a dollar-for-dollar move.

Now that they have just over 1 million in cap space, they have a little more wiggle room. Maybe they have their eye on a particular player, and this move gives them the space they needed.

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Finally, McLeod’s days in an Avalanche sweater were nearing their end. He didn’t fit Jared Bednar’s systems, he was stripped of his alternate captaincy, and was relegated to just over five minutes a game.

Girard, on the other hand, is young, he can skate, and he will most likely develop into a real defensively sound fourth line center soon.

More About Felix Girard

The most noticeable aspect of Girard’s game is his skating speed, and that’s the way the league is heading. He’s also an extremely hard worker, and a valuable asset on the penalty kill. Check it out:

That goal showcases all of his ability. Girard makes the steal at the blueline, skates down the ice with speed, and finishes with a good shot.

Now, he’s not known for his offensive acumen, but he could certainly develop into a 15-20 pt player on the bottom line. That’s much better production than we were seeing from McLeod. It’s also much better production than we are currently seeing from John Mitchell.

Here’s some more on the kid from Hockey’s Future:

"Girard makes up for any offensive and technical skill shortcomings in his game with hard work. He is a defensive oriented center who is undersized but plays a gritty, blue collar game. He skates fast and plays hard on the forecheck and pressures opposing defensemen. Girard can kill penalties and takes big draws. He has leadership qualities and was a team captain for Baie-Comeau in his last two junior seasons."

Those leadership qualities are certainly a pivotal part of this trade because that was one of the most important aspects of Cody McLeod’s presence on the team.

The Avs made a smart move with this one folks.


There’s obviously no way to know how much of an impact Felix Girard will end up having on the Avs at this point.

However, his addition brings some depth to the team, and also makes them younger. He will also be a valuable asset to the San Antonio Rampage in the meantime.

To my estimation, the Avs don’t make this trade unless they believe that Girard can one day play at the NHL level. However, I could most definitely be wrong about that. Nonetheless, it’s not like McLeod was turning any heads at the NHL level anymore.

Next: Musing About the Cody McLeod Trade

Furthermore, Girard brings many of the same intangibles that McLeod incorporated in his game. Girard is a good way two-way forward, he plays with grit, and he stands up for his teammates.

Girard also brings a bit more than McLeod as well. He’s a good penalty killer, he can take big face-off draws, and he’s a lot younger than McLeod. All-in-all, this was a real good trade by the Colorado Avalanche.

Losing McLeod is certainly a sad affair, but getting Girard in return is something that Avs fans should be satisfied with, and perhaps excited about.