Colorado Avalanche: Injuries May Change the Trade Deadline Strategy

DENVER, CO - FEBRUARY 18: Erik Johnson
DENVER, CO - FEBRUARY 18: Erik Johnson /

With the latest injuries suffered by Erik Johnson and Anton Lindholm, the Colorado Avalanche may be forced into seller mode at the upcoming trade deadline.

The Colorado Avalanche may have to change their approach to the 2018 NHL Trade Deadling.

First thing’s first. At the time of writing this, I have no idea how long either Erik Johnson or Anton Lindholm will be out of the Colorado Avalanche lineup. What I know is, both players left Sunday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers with upper body injuries, and did not return. They are listed as “out indefinitely.”

To add insult to injury, the Avs then blew a third period lead, and are now five points out of a playoff spot.

If the Avalanche will be without Johnson for any great length of time, they will be hard pressed to stay in the playoff race. The team barely survived eight games without Nathan MacKinnon. Now, without Erik Johnson, the team’s already weak defense core figures to get exposed. The fact that Mark Barberio and Anton Lindholm may also be out for awhile just highlights the problem even more.

Colorado Avalanche Defense Core

On Tuesday night in Vancouver, the Avalanche will likely need to dress two of the following defensemen: Andrei MironovDavid Warsofsky, and/or Duncan Siemens. Those four defensemen have combined for a mere 27 games this year. Mironov seemed overmatched early this season. Warsofsky and Siemens seem to be career AHL players. None can replace EJ.

If Erik Johnson misses extended time, the Colorado Avalanche will need better play from all their defensemen. They are already asking a lot of Sam Girard, who is only 19 years old. Tyson Barrie has not looked great since returning from injury, himself. Nikita Zadorov is likely not ready to lead a defense core. Patrik Nemeth should be receiving less, not more responsibilities.

So, How Do Injuries Affect Trade Deadline Outlook?

First of all, if EJ is going miss a long stretch of time, I think Tyson Barrie becomes untradeable at the deadline. He will get increased responsibility, not shipped out of town. Moreover, the Avs are simply running out of healthy, NHL-ready defensemen. I don’t think any blueliners will move at the deadline.

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On the other hand, the injuries should solidify the Colorado Avalanche as sellers at the trade deadline when it comes to other positions. There are a few forwards and a goaltender that may fetch some prospects, and/or draft picks. To be clear, I’m not suggesting that the following players should just be given away. I feel that all of the following could bring a decent return, if the right landing spot could be found.

Blake Comeau

I believe that pending UFA, Blake Comeau, who has played well this season could be attractive for a Stanley Cup contender. He has 10 goals and 12 assists this season. Furthermore, Comeau has  been very good for Colorado on their penalty kill. He played for the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2014-2015 season, and they may be a perfect fit for the veteran forward.

Colin Wilson

Colin Wilson has had a disappointing season for the Avs. With that said, he has 47 career playoff games under is belt. He played deep into June last season with the Nashville Predators. While the Avs are unlikely to get back the fourth round pick they traded to get him this past summer, he may still have some trade value. If the Avs can get something for him, I would move him.

Moving any forwards at the trade deadline that do not feature into the team’s long-term plans makes sense. I would like to see more of young players, especially Tyson Jost, down the stretch. Moving a couple veterans, especially Wilson, would give young players like Jost more, and better, ice time.

Next: Erik Johnson Hurt in Oilers Game

Johnathan Bernier

Finally, another injury may prevent another possible trade. That injury is the lingering concussion suffered by Jonathan Bernier. If Bernie can get healthy in the next week, he would be a perfect add for the Philadelphia Flyers. The Flyers are currently in a playoff position, and now appear to be without their top three goalies. Bernier would be a perfect stop gap, which would help keep the Flyers in the race.