As I start to write, there are still 21 minutes left until the expiration of the NHL trade deadline. The Avs pulled off a couple deals in the final hour – Artturi Lehkonen from the Montreal Canadiens for 2020 first-round pick Justin Barron and a second-rounder in 2024. And, they got veteran left winger Andrew Cogliano from the San Jose Sharks for a 2024 fifth-round pick.
The big deal, obviously, was the Lehkonen deal, and my first reaction was: I don’t like it. I have been on record saying trading Justin Barron for a rental would be a big mistake.
But now? I like the deal more, after talking to two people in Montreal who are very dialed in on the team and speak the truth. And, because Lehkonen isn’t a rental. While his contract is up after this season, he’s a restricted free agent (with arbitration rights). So, at least he can’t walk away for nothing, like Josh Manson, Nico Sturm (and Claude Giroux) could.
Here’s what one super-dialed in Habs watcher said on Lehkonen, in a detailed scouting report: