An Avalanche of Potential Trade Targets
With the trade deadline 3 weeks away, the Avalanche are still in a good position for the playoffs. They are sitting in 3rd in the Central, but they are currently in the middle of a 2 game losing streak.
This losing streak has highlighted a few issues the Avs are going through right now. Several of these issues have been long standing ones, including lack of faceoff prowess, streaky depth scoring, and forwards with good defensive ability. Yes, there are some highlights such as Logan O’Connor, Long beach Native Matt Nieto, Artturi Lehkonen, Valeri Nichushkin, and others, but this is not the defensive team it was last year.
Some of these issues stem from injuries, but the largest issue comes from some of the names missing off this iteration of the Colorado Avalanche. Names like Nazem Kadri, Andrei Burakovsky, and the biggest of them all, Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog.
His absence can not be understated. When the team needed a lift, he would block a shot, get in a fight, be in the middle of scrums, score a clutch goal, take a key faceoff.... You name it, Landeskog can do it. Add to that his natural leadership ability, and you’ve got a gap that is hard to fill.
With the trade deadline fast approaching on March 3rd, 2023 (3 weeks from the time of this article), the Avalanche should be making several trades to help fill in the gaps until Landeskog can make his return. Predominately, the Avs should be looking at a center, but forward depth as a whole needs to be considered. Let’s take a look at a few options below. Please note, these are not listed in any order, but are some names that could or should be of interest to the Colorado Avalanche.
1. Jonathan Toews – Chicago Blackhawks
Salary wise, this would be tough to fit. It would require retention on Chicago’s part, and likely even a 2nd team. Yes, Toews is on the older side, and he isn’t the player he once was, but on a team with Nathan MacKinnon, he wouldn’t have to be the go to guy. He is a player you could use to take important draws (63.3% faceoff win percentage), and he does have 14 goals and 14 assists. He is on pace for more goals than he’s scored since the ’18-’19 season, where he had 35. Bringing Toews in would be another leader on the team, and has won 3 Stanley Cups. He would not be a long term solution, but could help the Avalanche on their quest for a repeat.
2. Adam Henrique – Anaheim Ducks
Henrique may not be the most exciting addition, but he plays a position of need for Colorado, and does some of the little things right. On an Anaheim Ducks team that is clearly rebuilding/retooling, and not having a great amount of success night in and night out, Henrique has matched his goal scoring from last year, with plenty of games to go in the season with 19 (A pace of 31 goals over an 82 game season). This would be a welcome addition in Colorado on the 2nd line. He also is winning faceoffs at at a rate of 51.45% this year, and hasn’t been under 50% on the dot since 2017-2018. He is signed past the end of this year, could likely be had with salary retention for an reasonable cost.
3. Sean Monahan – Montreal Canadiens
“Boring” Sean Monahan, as he was affectionately referred to by former teammate Chris Butler, is an interesting player. He has been injured this year, which hasn’t been unfamiliar territory for him during the last few years, but he has resumed skating as of February 10th, 2023. Over an 82 game season, his point per game pace would have him at 56 points, which is a reasonable total for a 2nd line center. He’s also been solid on the faceoff dot with a 55.14% faceoff winning percentage. Monahan would be another likely inexpensive addition, but would also need to come with retention. With 1 year left on his deal, Montreal would surely be willing to play ball to maximize his return.
4. Kevin Hayes – Philadelphia Flyers
Kevin Hayes. NHL All-Star. Additionally, a healthy scratch at one point this season. A strange combination, truth be told, but the decisions of Flyers coach John Torterella over the years have sometimes been questionable. Kevin Hayes has put up 46 points in 52 games so far, and that would translate to 73 points over a full season. While he isn’t exactly a faceoff ace, he would bring some great offensive ability and a big body to the 2nd line. He would need to come with retention (a common theme in this list), but would be a fit for the next few years at a 5 million dollar cap hit.
5. Ryan O’Reilly – St. Louis Blues
This one would be... painful for some Avalanche fans after O’Reilly left town years ago to look for more money. O’Reillys offensive game has seen a dip this year, and he is nursing an injury but looks to be returning on February 11th, 2023. He only has 10 goals and 6 assists this season in 37 games, but as Avs fans know, he is an expert on the defensive side of the puck, and of course, he has a career 55.7% faceoff winning percentage. He is a captain, he is a Conn Smythe and Selke trophy winner, and would be a great fit stylistically. The question mark would be personality fit, and for guys like Erik Johnson, Gabriel Landeskog, and Nathan Mackinnon, that may not work out.
With these targets in mind to fill the 2nd line center hole, the Avalanche could make another deep run.
Lets hear it in the comments! Who do you think the Avalanche should go after before the trade deadline? What should they move?