The NHL Trade Deadline, and the weeks surrounding it, have always been famous for teams wheeling and dealing. Teams want to add the final pieces that will give them a push in the playoffs, or set themselves up favorably for the upcoming offseason.
The Colorado Avalanche, however, find themselves in the awkward “in-between” spot. They are neither a serious competitor for the Stanley Cup, nor are they a team that needs to blow up the roster and stockpile as many draft picks as possible. In this position, the Colorado Avalanche should do very little at the NHL Trade Deadline.
Why Not Find A Rental?
The Colorado Avalanche used to be famous for trade deadline deals for the rental player. In recent years, the trade deadline has been far less active for the Avalanche, with the exception of the blockbuster that brought Erik Johnson to Colorado. The function of the rental player is generally reserved for teams that feel like they can make a push for the Stanley Cup. They are the player that addresses that one final need and solidifies the lineup. It may not be fun to say this, but if we’re being realistic about the Avalanche, they are not at a point where they are Stanley Cup contenders. They are contenders to earn a playoff spot and maybe push a team in a series, but not to make a run at the Stanley Cup.
The other part of the rental player that makes this route a bit riskier is the cost of obtaining them. As players that can genuinely make a difference for a team, something of value must be given up. Since teams genuinely have most of the lineup they want in place, giving up promising young prospects and draft picks. The Avalanche are a team that is still building for the future and some of their most valuable pieces are their young prospects and draft picks. They aren’t yet at the point where they can afford to go without a first round pick, as they so often did in the late 90s.
Why Stand Pat?
The Avalanche have made a lot of change in their roster over the past three seasons. As I mentioned in December, the Avalanche need to think long term now and less on making so many changes. Just from last season to this season, the Avalanche turned over 1/3 of their roster. Over the past few months we have seen a marked improvement from the team that struggled so much at the beginning of the season. By letting the team stay together as much as possible, despite all the rumors of trades that came up, allowed them to find their way. There is still room for growth with this team, especially as some of the younger prospects, like Mikko Rantanen, come up through the system and the only way they will grow is if they are allowed to stay together.
Can Any Moves Be Made?
There are still some moves that the Avalanche could consider, but they wouldn’t yield much in return. At this point, it would be good for the Avalanche to identify a couple of players that likely won’t be a part of their future and cut ties. The two players that would make the most sense on this front are Alex Tanguay and Jarome Iginla. Since Jarome Iginla has a no-movement clause, that pretty much rules him out. Alex Tanguay likely won’t return much, especially with his less than stellar performance this season, but any type of return for him would be positive simply by not losing him for nothing. Anytime you can get something for somebody you know you would ultimately lose/let go for nothing, it’s a win.
Outside of this, however, the Colorado Avalanche should be very cautious with the upcoming trade deadline. The temptation will be there to try and spend but, the Avalanche should not make a splash during this season’s trade deadline.