The Colorado Avalanche are once again major contenders for a deep playoff run, and they will be buyers at and perhaps before the trade deadline. Therefore, don’t be surprised if this team makes at least one big move to inch closer to not only a top-three playoff spot, but perhaps even a top seed.
Colorado would ideally like to remind the NHL universe that last season’s first-round exit was nothing more than an outlier for what has been a stellar hockey team in the 2020s. This organization also has just enough in cap space, in its prospect pool, and in draft capital to make a splash at the deadline.
Below, we identified three players who can more than just help them make a major run for their second Stanley Cup title in three seasons. And if one of them fits well, maybe they will remain in Denver for a while if the Avalanche can create enough space beyond 2023-24.
Keep in mind that we are not expecting these trades to all occur, so you will see an overlap in compensation. Therefore, assume just one of these three, or something similar, will turn into a reality.
Kaapo Kahkonen has proven his worth on a poor hockey team
You can’t help but give Kaapo Kahkonen credit, as the 27-year-old has hung in there time and again despite playing for one of the worst teams in hockey. While Kahkonen has a 3.55 GAA so far this season, his 0.901 save percentage and 0.524 quality starts percentage aren’t bad, considering he’s playing for a team whose defense has been awful all year.
Therefore, a team like the Avalanche that can use a solid goaltender to factor in as a 1B should at least inquire about Kahkonen. While Alexandar Georgiev has done a serviceable job this season, his 2.91 GAA and 0.898 save percentage are nothing to brag about. Justus Annunen shouldn’t be the answer as a backup or, ideally, a 1B this season.
For this trade, the Avalanche would give up a third-round pick in 2025 plus a second-rounder in 2026. They will also have a trading partner to cut their losses on an ill-fated Ryan Johansen. Finally, since the San Jose Sharks are rebuilding, they will want a top prospect in the pool, which is where Nikolai Kovalenko comes in.