The Colorado Avalanche did not have a good year (quite the understatement, I’m aware), and are in dire need of changing their roster. Avalanche GM Joe Sakic made it clear that there was going to be “a lot of turnover” within the organization this summer. Recently, the Avalanche let three coaches go, but that is just going to be the tip of the iceberg. The Avalanche have several roster changes that should and likely will be coming this summer in order to make the team younger and faster.
Since there really isn’t going to be much in the way of free agency this summer, and since this isn’t going to be a very deep draft, the Avalanche are going to need to do most of their roster changes through trade. Here are some of the teams that the Colorado Avalanche might trade with this summer.
There are a lot of shortcomings to observe when looking at the Colorado Avalanche, but two big ones definitely come up. First, the Avalanche need to shore up their defense. Their system has gotten better over the past few years with some promising defensive prospects, but the depth of NHL ready defenders is just not there.
The second thing the Avalanche need is more scoring depth. The production for the Avalanche has gone downhill since that magic run where everything went right in 2013-2014, and it bottomed out in embarrassing fashion this past season. A combination of injuries, big players just not having good seasons, and just a bad lineup meant the Avalanche couldn’t score to save their lives. The Avalanche need to improve their forward depth just as much as their defensive depth.
The Carolina Hurricanes have been a team that comes up whenever potential Avalanche trade partners come up. It’s pretty obvious why when you look at their collection of players, especially on defense. Carolina’s front office has done an excellent job putting together some young, talented defenders but they still lack enough offensive firepower. Carolina is a place that makes a lot of sense in a Matt Duchene trade.
The ideal situation, and I mean the type of situation that might only come to pass if Carolina’s GM had a bit too much one night, would be to bring the likes of Noah Hanifin and a scorer, but that isn’t terribly realistic. What might be more possible is Matt Duchene and possibly another player for Jaccob Slavin, Nicolas Roy and maybe a draft pick. Slavin has a very bright future and is a solid player that should fit nicely into that second pair. Roy is a promising prospect with excellent size and a scoring ability. Duchene would fit will in their top six and would benefit from playing with a guy like Jeff Skinner.
Depending on what else Carolina would want, this could be a nice win-win trade for both teams.
Another team that has been on the Colorado Avalanche trade train for a long time, Montreal needs centers. Another team that jumps to the top of the list in Matt Duchene trade scenarios, the only real issue that comes up with the Habs is there might not be enough that Montreal could send back. If the Avalanche are to trade Matt Duchene, it doesn’t make sense to do it for a bunch of futures as they did with Ryan O’Reilly. The Avalanche will want players that can get into the roster.
For me, if the Avalanche are to deal with Montreal, everything must begin with Mikhail Sergachev. The only real downside with him is that it’s hard to know when he will be ready to make the jump to the NHL. There is a ton of promise for Sergachev and all of his abilities certainly project him as a potential top-tier defenseman, but is that enough in a deal like this? Other roster players the Avalanche might want to consider would be Alex Galchenyuk or possibly Brendan Gallagher. Will any of that really be enough to entice you to pull the trigger on a deal involving Matt Duchene? I don’t really know.
In the end, I don’t think that the Avalanche will dance with Montreal.
New York Islanders
The Islanders were thought to be potential suitors in the Matt Duchene sweepstakes earlier in the season, so it could be possible that they make another play for him this offseason. It’s unlikely that the Avalanche would get the major asking price they were setting during the season, but there could still be a match here.
I like some kind of a trade with Calvin De Haan to help strengthen the blue line.
New Jersey Devils
As you probably have noticed, I am operating under the assumption that Matt Duchene will likely be the biggest trade target for the Avalanche this offseason. One team that desperately needs some scoring to add to their lineup is the New Jersey Devils. The big issue with the Devils is who would they send back? The Avalanche would likely want some kind of a scoring forward or defender to fit their lineup. New Jersey likely wouldn’t want to part with what little scoring they have.
That being said, Duchene playing with Taylor Hall would be a big plus for the Devils. Also, the Devils have the top overall pick this season and will likely be getting a top offensive player, maybe they feel like they could part with Kyle Palmieri. Or maybe not.
New Jersey does have a couple prospects worth looking at, specifically Michael McLeod. I’ve been a big fan of his since last year’s draft, and he had another outstanding year in the OHL. You really don’t want a Duchene trade to be for all futures, but a promising prospect, especially one with a great offensive upside, you would certainly consider as part of the deal.
The Avalanche and Coyotes have been considered natural trade partners for a while. They even made a deal not long ago, and could dance again. Arizona has a lot of young talent that is coming into their lineup in a lot of places. The Avs could target some of that, or try and look at the emerging Arizona blue line. I won’t lie, I wouldn’t mind seeing former Avalanche prospect, Kyle Wood, come back to the Avs. Connor Murphy might be another good addition in some kind of a package. There’s some definite potential here.