It’s no secret to anybody watching right now, but the Colorado Avalanche are a bad team. The Avalanche can’t win at home, can’t win back to back games, are the most mentally fragile team I’ve ever seen, and have trouble putting out respectable efforts in multiple periods. It’s no wonder that they find themselves at the bottom of the NHL.
How this could have come to pass is one question that could take up several blog posts; but rather than focus on how the Avalanche fell, let’s take a look forward.
Send Out the Senior Citizens
The Avalanche cannot possibly be thinking playoffs right now, and the roster has far too many players over 30. The Avalanche are not in a position to win now, or even win soon, so the faster the team can go young, the better. So here are some potential propositions.
Jarome Iginla to San Jose for Picks
Jarome Iginla doesn’t fit on this team, at all. He can’t keep up and it’s obvious. San Jose seems like a possible landing spot for Iginla as the Sharks’ style would fit his abilities. They are also a contending team that could give him one last run at a Stanley Cup. The return won’t be great, perhaps a 4th round pick or later, and the Avalanche may have to retain some of Iginla’s salary. That won’t be an issue in the long run, however, as Iginla’s contract is up at the end of this season anyways.
John Mitchell to Montreal for Mark Barberio/or Picks
It would be nice for the Avalanche to be able to pick up a young roster player with some of these potential trades, but it’s not always likely; especially whens ending away some of the lower level players.
I’ve chosen Montreal for John Mitchell because Montreal is currently hurting for depth at center with the rash of injuries they have had. Now Mitchell is not the type of player that is going to replace Alex Galchenyuk, but he could provide some much needed depth.
I will readily admit that I’m not terribly familiar with Mark Barberio, nor do I have much knowledge about how Montreal values him in their system. What I do see with Barberio is that he is a bottom pair player who averages about 15 minutes of ice per game. He has only played 10 games this season, but has amassed a 61.9 CF % in that time. They simply might not have room for Barberio in Montreal, where he might do well with a bit more ice time in Denver.
Again, I’m not very familiar with his game or style of play, but his analytics suggest that there is promise. If Barberio isn’t the way to go, or the Habs don’t want to part with him, then it’s never a bad idea to keep picking up more draft picks.
Francois Beauchemin to Pittsburgh for ANYTHING
The trick in this one is Beauchemin’s No Movement Clause. If the Avalanche can get him to waive this, then you try to get him to anybody who will take him because Beauchemin has been terrible this season. I go with Pittsburgh on this one because Pittsburgh has had serious injury issues with defensemen this season and might be willing to put a veteran like Beauchemin in a depth position with little, if any, responsibility once their many injured defensemen do get back.
So how do you get Beauchemin to waive? You try to sell him on the idea of moving on from a team that he doesn’t fit with and that he isn’t going to be a part of next season anyways. Let’s be honest, if Beauchemin isn’t traded the Avalanche have to buy him out. Sadly he can’t be exposed to the Expansion Draft because of his NMC. Buyout or trade will be the only option.
Blake Comeau to Edmonton for David Musil & a Pick
There’s potential to add a few more pieces to this trade to make it work, but I could see Comeau possibly finding a home in the bottom six in Edmonton. Musil adds some more defensive depth to the system. He has a lot of size at 6’4″ and 207 lbs., and while he would be a project, could pay off in later years as a serviceable defender for the team. A pick helps give a bit more value to the Avalanche in this trade that would send an NHL roster player to the Oilers. Likely the Oilers’ third round this year, or second round in 2018.
Here’s where the waters get to be a bit murky. People want change, but some people want to scorch the ground completely. There is a narrative, and I’m not saying that it’s wrong, that it has been proven that this core of players can’t and won’t be able to get it done together. That there is no chemistry so the best thing the team can do is send them all out and start again from scratch. I don’t subscribe to that, but I do think that you can possibly send a couple people out. Here’s the players I send away, feel free to throw tomatoes at me when I’m done.
Tyson Barrie to Toronto for James Van Riemsdyk
James Van Riemsdyk is a very solid top six player that has a lot of good jam to his game. He does will in the ugly areas. He will likely end up being a cap casualty as the young studs finish out their entry-level contracts in Toronto. Barrie has been abysmal, but maybe a fresh start with Mike Babcock would help out. I’m sure Barrie could be a better option for the Leafs on the blue line than Matt Hunwick. Right?
Gabriel Landeskog to Tampa Bay for Anton Stralman
This one is a bit of a twist from a proposal my buddy Dion made. His proposal is Landy+Barrie <—> Drouin+Stralman. I can get behind either, but I’m focusing on single players, so here we go. Tampa has several injuries they’re dealing with, including: Steven Stamkos, Ryan Callahan, and Nikita Kucherov. Landeskog would fit in well with this group, and Stralman would be an excellent addition to the Avalanche blue line.
Tampa does have Stamkos on the LTIR, which means they get relief for his cap hit. Otherwise, this becomes a very difficult prospect.