Colorado Avalanche Roundtable: What the Team Should do at the Trade Deadline

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 31: Patrik Nemeth
DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 31: Patrik Nemeth /

The Colorado Avalanche should approach the 2018 NHL Trade Deadline with an eye to the future, not a win-now mentality.

The Colorado Avalanche have some decisions to make as the NHL Trade Deadline approaches, which is February 26. Though the time hasn’t been announced yet, it’s usually around 1 pm MT.

At the time of writing, the Colorado Avalanche were just shy of a playoff berth. Star center Nathan MacKinnon was out for at least two weeks with a shoulder injury, but as much as four (or more).

And Joe Sakic had broken the trade market — but in the Avs’ favor:

Related Story: Joe Sakic Improved Avs Trade Market

So, with that situation in mind, let’s look at what Mile High Sticking contributors think the Avs should do at the trade deadline.

Thomas Janz believe the Avalanche should — and will — keep the core of the team intact. He thinks at most the team should move some pending unrestricted free agents such as defenseman Mark Barberio and winger Blake Comeau.

Ross Kleppe also thinks Comeau as well as fellow winger Nail Yakupov might fetch a return:

"“Comeau and Yakupov may get the Avs a couple mid round picks and for a team in the middle of a “retool,” the more prospects and picks the better!”"

He’s not wrong about more prospects and picks = better. Ross also has another player in mind to trade:

"“I will also be interested to see if someone will be willing to pay for Jonathan Bernier after the January he had (cough Islanders cough).”"

Bernier is playing strong for the Avalanche. He’s making a respectable one-two tandem with Varlamov. If the Avs are dropping out of the playoff picture come the trade deadline, I think trading Bernier is a good move.

Ultimately, here’s what Ross thinks the Avalanche should do:

"“This is tough. As an Av fan, I miss playoff hockey and I want it back, darnit! Still, I think this season is a win even without the playoffs. In my opinion, they should either do nothing or sell depending on the market.”"

That’s some good advice.

Anthony Noga had some very in-depth advice about what Colorado should do:

By all things holy, stay the course. Don’t fall into old habits and sell
the future to help this bubble team continue to be a bubble team.

“I don’t particularly care for the top 9 winger rumour for two reasons.
First, I don’t see how much value adding a top 9 winger would bring to the team. Adding another guy in the Nieto or Comeau range doesn’t seem to improve the team enough to go hunting for.

“The exception is if it’s a young guy who’s stalled and could use a change
of scenery. If Sakic could replicate something like the trade for Jamie
McGinn, that would be a definite boon. Or if he managed to rook someone out of a legitimate scoring winger.

“The second reason is that Sakic’s already got reinforcements coming.
MacKinnon, Andrighetto and Kamenev could all be back from injury sometime around the deadline. The Avalanche will have at least one, probably two, possibly even three top 9 forwards joining their ranks. And they won’t cost anything.

“The armchair GM in me wants Sakic to keep some roster space open for these and other young guys like Greer rather than add another low risk low reward type.

Nathan MacKinnon better be back around the deadline. As well as Sven Andrighetto. And poor Vladislav Kamenev — word has it he’s so on the mend he’s traveling with the San Antonio Rampage.

So, what should the Colorado Avalanche do at the trade deadline? I think the team should look at its list of core players:

Of those players, I could see Varlamov and, especially, Barrie getting moved, but not at the deadline. The other four, no way.

The Avs should also look at their most important prospects — their rookies:

Those top four should absolutely remain with the team. If Colorado can get a high draft pick for Toninato or Lindholm (I’m not saying they can), they should go for it. Neither represents a future foundation like the top four do.

Next: Musing About Tavares for the Avs

Anyone else not listed above should be considered fair game. If Joe Sakic can get a decent pick or prospect for one of the players not listed above, he should do it. Colorado is in a full-fledged youth movement, so picks and prospects add the most value moving forward.