I highly doubt a trade will happen. I highly, highly doubt a trade will happen before February. But I do think the Avs are thinking a lot more about the Bo Byram situation for this coming season, to the point where they may consider a trade.
The most likely player to be moved is veteran Ian Cole, who is in the final year of a contract that carries a cap hit of $4.25 million. I think the Avs are thinking about this, at least. That’s a long way from anything happening, either way. But, given Byram’s star turn for Canada in the latest World Junior Championships, the Avs are wondering: “Should we just turn Byram loose now, instead of wasting him another year?”
Byram’s status is somewhat complicated; taken fourth overall by the Avs in the 2019 draft, Byram is only 19, which would normally make him too young to play in the American Hockey League, for the Colorado Eagles (that may change for this season in the AHL. TBD).
Otherwise, Byram could go back to his junior team in Vancouver, but we still don’t know if that league will play a season or not. Besides, in his developmental curve, that would be time spent probably just spinning his tires. So that leaves the Avs with another choice: maybe go into this season with the idea of having Byram be a top-6 defenseman come playoff time?
Maybe the Avs can just play Byram six free games (based on his junior status) and then either keep him on the taxi squad ’til late in the regular season or – maybe, depending on his play, start integrating him into the lineup sooner. At worst, Byram could start the season (when his World Junior time is up) as an Avs seventh D-man and work his way from there. The Avs would be able to afford Byram under the salary cap, and they would still be able to protect him in the Seattle Expansion Draft this summer.
It’s a situation in which probably nothing will happen just yet, but one in which the Avs are thinking about. Trading Cole, at his cap hit and contract status (UFA after this season) would likely be difficult. But maybe there could be a package deal, or a rental deal later in the season?
I’ll go ahead and predict this: Byram will, by whatever reason, be playing for the Avs in the playoffs.