The NHL trade deadline is just under a month away from happening in this shortened, last man standing season. Injuries will leave teams still in the hunt looking for replacements, or have moved faltering clubs into seller status. Positions in the standings will of course have more effect on anything, and that being said I’ll begin my preview series by the most obvious situations going forward.
Today’s preview will be centered on the Colorado Avalanche. The Avalanche currently sit in 14th place in the Western Conference. As bad as their place in standings might suggest things are in Denver, it’s not totally out of the realm of possibility that they could make a run at the playoffs. As of right now they are only 4 points out of eighth place, and the Northwest Division isn’t exactly competitive. I expect most of their moves at the deadline to be of the hockey variety. Wouldn’t catch me off guard if they got rid of some players for picks though either. Here’s a list of some Avalanche players I expect to be on the market and what they could bring back in return.
Paul Stastny: With Av’s hand forced on the Ryan O’Reilly offer sheet they now have a logjam at center. With the highest cap hit, and the least production of their big three centers (Matt Duchene, Ryan O’Reilly and the aforementioned Stastny) this could finally be the year he makes his departure. If he is on the block don’t be surprised if the Toronto Maple Leafs kick the tires on him.
Possible returns: A mid round draft pick and a blue chip prospect or maybe a first rounder and a prospect. Have to think that a roster player is part of any deal.
Chuck Kobasew: He’s not the sexiest name on the market, but with one year left on his contract with a $1.25M cap hit he could be valuable as a bottom six forward for a contending team.
Possible returns: a late round draft pick
Ryan O’Byrne: O’Byrne, who's played his best hockey since joining the Avs, could be on his way out. It’s not a sure thing, but with one year and $1.8M remaining on his contract teams in need of defensive help just might inquire about O’Byrne. He’s a great character guy, who can be relied on in his own end.
Possible returns: mid round draft pick.
You can follow J.D. Burke for more hockey commentary, stats, tweets, etc. @WeveGotTwins and find his blog at We've Got Twins