In a recent piece for The Athletic, NHL insider Pierre LeBrun reported that the Colorado Avalanche are an “obvious suitor” when it comes to a potential Jonathan Toews blockbuster (from ‘LeBrun: Potential NHL trade candidates (O’Reilly? Horvat?) and deadline buyers emerging early’, The Athletic, 11/10/22). He noted that he believes Avalanche general manager (GM) Chris MacFarland will try to find a second-line center to replace offseason departure Nazem Kadri. Toews certainly could work well in this role, and this is especially true if he stays hot. The 34-year-old is showing signs of his former self, as he has an impressive seven goals and 10 points in his first 14 games.
However, the Avalanche would need to get creative to help a Toews deal come to fruition. Due to his $10.5 million cap hit, both the Blackhawks and a third team would need to retain some salary. However, it certainly is possible, so this is something we should pay attention to as we get closer to the deadline.
Let’s now look at some intriguing trade targets from the Avalanche who the Blackhawks should target in a hypothetical Toews blockbuster.
Martin Kaut is a young player that Blackhawks GM Kyle Davidson could consider acquiring. The 2018 first-round pick has had trouble cementing himself as a full-time NHL player, and a major reason behind this is because of the Avalanche’s strong forward depth. Over the last four seasons, he has appeared in just 30 NHL games, where he has three goals and two assists. Although those numbers aren’t too impressive, I do wonder if a change of scenery could help the former top prospect get things back on track.
Latest News & Highlights
With the Blackhawks, Kaut would certainly have a good chance of being a regular in their lineup. When observing their forward group, I’d argue that he could be a great fit on their third line because he offers more offensive upside than grinder Boris Katchouk. Furthermore, if we see trade candidates like Patrick Kane, Andreas Athanasiou, and Max Domi moved, this could open the door to Kaut having a top-six role. This, in turn, could be enough for him to take that next step offensively and finally break out.
With the Blackhawks rebuilding, they are in a prime position to take chances on players like Kaut. At worst, they would be getting a serviceable depth forward, but I sincerely believe that he still has the potential to become a solid middle-six winger.
One Avalanche prospect who certainly could get the attention of Davidson in a Toews trade is Jean-Luc Foudy. After scoring nine goals and recording 26 points in 65 games with the Colorado Eagles last season, he has an excellent 11 points in 12 games so far in 2022-23. This rise of production in the American Hockey League (AHL) could be an indicator that the Scarborough native’s development is heading in the right direction, so it would be wise for a rebuilding team like the Blackhawks to consider him.
Foudy would fit perfectly into Chicago’s rebuild because he is still only 20 years old and has plenty of upside. However, even with this being the case, the Blackhawks would be wise to practice patience with his development if they acquire him. Although he’s off to an excellent start to the season, he needs more time in the AHL to work on his craft before making the permanent jump to the Blackhawks’ roster. Either way, if he continues to develop well, he could become a nice part of the middle six later down the road.
Another Avalanche prospect who would have the potential to be a major addition to the Blackhawks is Ben Meyers. The undrafted forward raised his value as a prospect significantly last season when he recorded a 41-point campaign in 34 games with the University of Minnesota. This led to him landing an entry-level contract (ELC) with the Avalanche, and now the 23-year-old center is just getting his professional career started. Yet, due to Colorado’s strong forward depth, he is having trouble carving himself a permanent role in their lineup. As a result, he has played in just eight games with the Avalanche since his arrival, where he has two goals.
With the Avalanche aiming to repeat as Stanley Cup champions, I do wonder if they would be willing to part ways with Meyers in a Toews trade. Toews would provide them with a much-needed upgrade down the middle and would make them significantly better in the short term. Meyers, on the other hand, would have the potential to blossom into a long-term part of the Blackhawks’ core if his excellent scoring touch from college translates over to the NHL. Therefore, both teams would win in this swap.
If the Blackhawks acquire Meyers, he would surely be a mainstay in their current lineup. Due to his versatility, he could fit nicely on Chicago’s third line at either center or left wing. With that, his ability to create offense could make him a nice addition to the Blackhawks’ second power-play unit as well. Overall, this is a young player who Davidson would be wise to pursue, as it’s apparent that he has the potential to become an impactful NHL player.
Nevertheless, the Blackhawks have some solid trade targets from the Avalanche in a potential Toews deal. Adding any of these three young forwards could be excellent for Chicago, so we will have to wait and see if these two clubs can strike a deal before the trade deadline passes.
Michael DeRosa is a contributor who covers the Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, & Detroit Red Wings for The Hockey Writers. Since 2017, he’s written and edited for numerous websites. Besides his work for THW, you can also find him on NHL Trade Rumors.