Colorado Avalanche Must Make a Trade

There is a problem that has been slowly attended to year by year in Colorado. However it needs to be attended to this year rather than next. The Avalanche have a bit of a issue on defense. Therefore, the Colorado Avalanche must make a trade, and with haste. The fact is that the Avs have eight defenseman, all on one-way contracts, which isn’t an ideal situation. Joe Sakic needs to think fast and find a way to improve the back end.

Acquiring a top pairing defenseman would shore up the Avalanche defense while helping in many other departments such as their transition game and power play. I say power play because Colorado desperately needs someone who is a constant threat from the point. That gives them the double threat of their potent offense up front plus a threat from the back end.

Don’t get me wrong, Tyson Barrie is on his way to becoming a great offensive defender and powerplay quarterback, with tremendous upside overall. However the Avs can’t just rely on Barrie and EJ to provide the forwards with the support they need. Here is the Avalanche’s depth chart on defense as of now.

More Quality Needed

Erik Johnson

  • Erik Johnson
  • Tyson Barrie
  • Brad Stuart
  • Nick Holden
  • Jan Hejda
  • Ryan Wilson
  • Nate Guenin
  • Zach Redmond

There are a number of factors/problems that need sorting out. The biggest issue is that Ryan Wilson started the year playing extremely well, reminding us of the old Wilson. Now Wilson is injured with another concussion, which he has a history of. Now Nate Guenin is being favored over Zach Redmond in Ryan Wilson’s absence as the 6th defender. Zach Redmond did good things in camp and pre-season, seems to have good skating ability and a solid shot from the point. Nate Guenin however, makes you nervous every time he’s out there as his skating just can’t keep up with faster/shiftier forwards in the league.

Guenin, 31, a career AHL defenseman, played his way onto the Avalanche roster last year, playing in 68 games scoring one goal with eight assists but creating that feel good story. Before last season, Guenin’s career high of games played was only 15 games for Anaheim back in the 2011 season. Nate Guenin would be a serviceable 8th defender, but to have him playing some big time minutes every game is a problem for a team who wants to compete in the playoffs. Bottom line is that this defense, though better with the addition of Brad Stuart, is not up to par with the true cup contenders. This leaves Semyon Varlamov seemingly all by himself on some shifts.

What to Do, What to Do?

Most Stanley Cup champions all have what you would call “a number one defender”. Las Angeles Kings have Drew Doughty, Chicago Blackhawks have Duncan Keith, Boston Bruins have Zdeno Chara etc. Colorado Avalanche had Adam Foote, Rob Blake and Ray Bourque to name a few big names when they won their Stanley Cups. Erik Johnson, while getting better each year, needs a partner on the top pairing. No offense to Brad Stuart or Nick Holden, but adding a top pairing defender to play with EJ would work wonders for both him and this Avs team.

Maybe Wilson gets healthy and continues to play great, and the Avalanche defense fixes itself and does just fine. After all they did better with worse last season. Though if that does not happen, the Colorado Avalanche must make a trade. Finding that trade is also a problem though, as teams aren’t very willing to let go of one of their top defenders and understandably so. Unless of course the return is enticing enough and it makes sense for both parties involved.

This brings up yet another issue. Who holds enough trade value on the Avalanche roster in order to make such a trade without breaking up the core? The first name that comes to mind to land a big time defender is Ryan O’Reilly. I am on the fence about trading him, I’d like to see if relations between him and the team have improved as well as if he is willing to commit to the team.

Going the trade route might be just taking one step backwards and another forward, leaving the Avalanche with a hole on offense if someone were to be traded for defensive help. Thus, Colorado should be shopping some high draft picks along with a prospect to acquire said defenseman. Colorado would have done very well for themselves to bring back Johnny Boychuk, who was traded to the Islanders for a couple draft picks. Bringing Boychuk back would have made all the sense in the world as he is able to partner EJ, and would provide that threat of a booming slapshot from the point. I’d like to think that the Avalanche at least went after him with an offer to the Bruins.

A trade like that is exactly what the Colorado Avalanche need right now. Surely Joe Sakic, Patrick Roy and company see this need in the team. Time will only tell what will happen, but for right now Avalanche management need to start assessing the situation on defense.



17 thoughts on “Colorado Avalanche Must Make a Trade”

  1. Honestly I think our defense is fine. We just need a different structure. The lines all need to be changed up, because to be honest our offense isn’t doing that great either. Roy needs to get the lines all figured out. I don’t think anyone needs to be traded, I think everyone needs to figure out how to work together. End of story.

  2. I think the Avs really blew it when they let Stastny walk for nothing. As it stands now, the ONLY way to get a solid D-Man from a trade is to break up the core that they’ve been working on for the past 5 years. And yeah, the author is right. In order to get that top pairing guy to help E.J. out, they’d have to give up a player like Duchene, O’Reilly or MacK. Otherwise, what else do they have short of trading a wife or two? They’ve already given up a second rounder to land Stuart, so they really shouldn’t give up their 1st round pick as well because a trade for such a decent D-Man is going to require more than just a 1st round pick. Somebody is gonna want a roster player, plus a prospect or two. And we really don’t have a bunch of quality guys in the pipeline as it is. That being said, even though it’s still early in the season (and we shouldn’t throw in the towel just yet on any team with so many games remaining), the bottom line is, our forwards aren’t looking much better either and that’s also a problem moving forward. I’m not seeing the chemistry with any of them right now. And it doesn’t help that Roy breaks up the lines so often in practice but then plays different lines on game day. How the helll are they supposed to build that chemistry working like that?

    I must say that I’m not very impressed with how the Sakic and Co handled the off season by any means. While I like the addition of Iggy and Stuart, I just don’t think that fixes anything yet. We need at least 2 more solid D-Men on this team if we stand any chance of being a real playoff contender. At this point, I’d be surprised if we ended up at .500 and that’s just not good enough to even make the playoffs.

  3. There are maybe 8-10 true number one defensemen in this league. They aren’t available because they are worth their weight in gold. To make matters worse, 20+ other teams are looking for the exact same thing. If you aren’t willing to move ROR you sure as hell aren’t going to get one. You need to give to get.

  4. I think the Avs should go after a guy like Marc Methot in Ottawa. He is a very solid defensemen that would help anchor the back end and could play on a top pairing with Johnson. Also, Ottawa would probably give him up for draft picks and a prospect seeing as how they don’t like to spend money. Just look at the Spezza trade. The Avs would be a lot better if their top 6 was:
    Johnson Methot
    Barrie Hejda
    Holden Stuart

  5. Wilson does not have a concussion, in fact he is playing tonight. He is not the answer, however. #1 defensemen do not grow on trees and would not be available unless you are willing to part with MacKinnon or Duchene. it simply does not take picks and some prospects. Which by the way is what has created that hole at defense by trading away the 2008 and 2012 first round pick. One was Varly, which is justified but it filled a hole in one area to create another. Suggesting a trade is very much oversimplification of a very complicated issue and one that isn’t rooted in realism.

    • Wilson got hit with a puck to the head in practice, has had a head injury coupled with past concussions, he is healthy now and back in the lineup for tonight yes, never said he was the answer what so ever. Stated Avs would have to give up ROR for a top pairing defender, never suggested picks/prospects for a #1. I mentioned Boychuk who was acquired for just that – picks.

  6. great article. couldnt agree more. Boychuk couldve solved all our problems. Kulikov is lesser option still.

  7. @Jim – If you see, I said that trading O’Reilly would just cause another hole up front. I don’t want O’Reilly traded, never said that, he was used purely as an example of the type of player the Avs would have to part with in order to land a top defender. Also stated that its very very hard to acquire a number 1 D in any way, which is why I brought up a player like Boychuk.

  8. O’Reilly can’t be traded till one year has passed since he signed, and he shouldn’t be anyway. You don’t get a number 1 D man when they are already a number 1 D unless another team can’t afford them. Suter is the example most recently and look what it took to sign him. Over $100M. What it really takes to get over the final hurdle in building a number 1 D is winning. And you don’t win by letting any of your top talent get away in any way. You have to get 2nd and 3rd pair D that you can teach up and most all top talent the old fashioned way, the draft.

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