The Colorado Avalanche have made their first trade of the off-season by acquiring forward Rocco Grimaldi from the Florida Panthers in exchange for goaltender Reto Berra.
Grimaldi, age 23, was drafted 33rd overall by Florida in 2011. For being considered “under-sized,” he put up very solid numbers in the AHL for the San Antonio Rampage, who two years ago were associated with the Panthers organization.
Berra was not going to see NHL ice with the Avalanche, so it only made sense to move him. The team currently has a great goaltending tandem in Semyon Varlamov and Calvin Pickard. With this trade they dealt from a position of strength to upgrade a position of weakness, which is overall top-6 organizational depth, and a right-handed shot.
At worst, Grimaldi is a great AHL player that replaces the loss of Joey Hishon in San Antonio who recently left to the KHL. At best, he could possible slide into a right-wing position next to Matt Duchene or Nathan MacKinnon. Despite his natural position being center, Colorado’s weakness is on the right side.
Grimaldi is an extremely fast skater which no doubt fits in with the Avalanche’s speed game. He’ll need to work a lot on his defensive coverage though, but his offensive ability is available in abundance. Time will tell if he can secure a place in the NHL or not, but bottom line is, the Avalanche come away from this trade with a smile.
— Steve Mears (@MearsyNHL) June 23, 2016
They saved some money by offloading Berra who would’ve never played for Colorado, while adding to a position of need with Grimaldi. A minor start to the off-season movement by the Avalanche, but a very solid one nonetheless.
Sebastian Noble is currently in his third year with The Hockey Writers covering the Colorado Avalanche and Florida Panthers. Liverpool, England, and of course Colorado Avalanche & Florida Panthers supporter. You can follow him on Twitter @SebastianHNoble