Frank Seravalli is a reporter colleague I’ve known back to his days with the Philadelphia Daily News, and it’s no accident he went from there to one of the most high-profile hockey media gigs a person can get, with TSN a few years ago. Frank is fearless and works the phones hard.
So when he reported today that the Avs, along with the Boston Bruins, are the “front-runners” to land the Rangers’ Chris Kreider in a deal before Monday’s deadline, I did one of those funny eyeball emoji tweets with a link to it.
About a month ago, I did some digging around about the Avs’ interest in Kreider, and I came away with the impression that the Avs weren’t really in the market. Too expensive, and the Avs liked their top-six as it was. Well, the injuries to Nazem Kadri and, now, Mikko Rantanen, have changed the landscape I do believe.
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) February 18, 2020
First off, about Rantanen: MRI to be done at some point today still, as I write, and then the Avs will have a firm prognosis on him. But, at minimum, it’s going to be a few “weeks” still. How many weeks? The MRI will tell the tale. I’m hearing that there is optimism that Rantanen will NOT require surgery for this injury and that there is optimism he’ll be in uniform come playoff time, but, again, the MRI will tell the full tale. NOTHING is fully known yet.
Back to Kreider: Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet also believes the Avs are in on Kreider. Elliotte is a rockstar reporter, and one of my favorite people in the business, so anything he says is pure gospel to me.
(A quick Elliotte Friedman story: when I imploded my entire life more than five years ago with prescription drug-addicted, drunken tweets that I didn’t even remember doing after the fact, Elliotte was one of the first people to call me, to ask how I was and to offer his guidance and friendship moving forward. I will never, ever, ever, ever, ever forget that. That’s the kind of guy he is. Today, though still plenty flawed, I’m back on solid ground, and it was because of things like that, from people like him, that helped get me through. Oh, and I talk a lot more about that awful time in this podcast with renowned author Jeff Pearlman. It was hard for me to talk about, and will always be hard for me to talk about. But as I detailed in the podcast, I wouldn’t trade some of the experiences I had as a result of it, for anything. If it helps more kids out there, as I know it has for some, then that’s a win in the final Big Book).
Back to Kreider: An excellent player, but word on the street is he’d love to go to Boston instead of a place like Colorado. He’s from Boxford, Mass. (same town Ray Bourque lives in) and went to Boston College. Avs may be up against a tough foe here for his services, and no matter who the competition is, the Avs aren’t going to wildly overpay – especially if they know Rantanen will be back by the playoffs.
I am hearing, if the Avs lose out on Kreider for whatever reason, that Montreal and former Red Wings forward Tomas Tatar is a consideration. He’s got 53 points in 61 games this year. He would immediately slot in as the Avs’ second-leading scorer if he were to come here.
Who would the Avs give up in trade? I think, at most, they would part with their first-round pick from this year (they don’t have a second) and a guy like Nikita Zadorov or Tyson Jost or a Matt Nieto. Could they ask Erik Johnson to waive his no-trade deal (although I’m told that list only extends to 19 teams)? Look, I don’t know on that one. I would hate to see EJ go, just from a pure human perspective. He’s a tremendous guy. I doubt he’d be on the way out. But this is a crazy business.
You just never know. More info. as I hear it. I’ll be working the phones hard, too. I like getting my own scoops, not linking to others.