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Avalanche Mailbag: Trade Deadline, Fourth Line Center, and More



Landeskog Avalanche

The time has come for my first Colorado Avalanche mailbag with Colorado Hockey Now.

After a really rough go of it for a while, the Avalanche have hit their stride again and are back in the playoff hunt. Time to check in with the readers and see what questions they have about the team.

From Dude Where’s Makar: Who are some realistic trade deadline targets?

This is something I plan to really dig into over the All-Star break. For a while there after Christmas, it was looking like the trade deadline might have to be an entirely different discussion altogether. Now that the team is winning, getting healthier, and climbing the standings, we’re back to looking at who the team can add as opposed to selling off anyone.

Without naming any specific players, I do think there are two areas they need to address: the bottom six up front, and depth on defense. The Avalanche haven’t gotten any production from call-ups at forward. With Darren Helm’s season potentially over, an addition to the bottom six looks necessary.

Contending teams always want to add defense at the deadline. They won’t have the ammunition (or need) to go get another Josh Manson, but a 7th or 8th defenseman is doable. The return of Manson and Bowen Byram will help, but those two have injury histories, so another option would be nice.

I know second line center is the big topic of discussion, but will the Avalanche have enough assets to trade to go get one? That’s something I’m really going to dig into here in the coming weeks. Is a Sean Monahan really an upgrade over what they have? One interesting name people have thrown at me is Boone Jenner. That’s someone who makes sense if Columbus if willing to move him.

From Taylor Dafoe: Of all the Avs’ call-ups and waiver claims this year, who’s your MVP? Most disappointing?

Well the MVP certainly isn’t any forward, because they’ve gotten next to nothing out of them.

The call-up MVP has pretty clearly been Brad Hunt. Jacob MacDonald has struggled this season, and Hunt has kind of filled that role. In addition, without Byram and Manson around, he’s added some offense. The Avalanche are built around defense chipping in, so that’s been crucial.

Honorable mention to Jean-Luc Foudy, because he gave some hope for the future with his play.

Most disappointing? Probably Martin Kaut. It’s not that he was bad, but more that he didn’t take the bull by the horns. 27 games is a lot for a call-up, so you can’t say he didn’t get his shot. You’re just left wanting more when you watch him.

From JD Schick: I’ve seen a lot of talk about bringing in a 7th D like Jack Johnson. Doesn’t it seem like Englund has done enough to fill that roll?

I have liked Englund, and he’s shown improvement, but if you want to contend, you need a better seventh defenseman. Realistically, he’s probably further down the depth chart when this team is healthy. I’m not sure Jack Johnson is a guy I’d target, but I could see it. You have a familiarity with him, but at the same time, he’s a year older. I feel like you could do better. The appeal of Johnson is that it should cost next to nothing to acquire him.

From ParoxiWife: Why have game puck videos from the avsmin gone by the wayside? Any good ones to report?

My understanding is the person who was in charge of the Avalanche twitter moved on, so someone else is running it. They also try to change up content from year to year. Unfortunately, media isn’t allowed in the room when stuff like that goes down, so we don’t know whose getting what after games.

From Blake Wheeler: What do the Avs do at the TDL if they don’t get Landy back this season?

To me, this is the ultimate question. If I was the GM, I’m not selling any major assets for rentals unless I’m 100% sure Gabriel Landeskog is returning this season.

Is it possible this team could win the cup without Landeskog? Yeah, it’s possible. The Western Conference really isn’t that impressive, and without Landeskog, the Avalanche still have a good roster. Would I bet on it? I don’t think I would.

Landeskog does so much for this team, both on and off the ice, that winning four rounds without him would be very difficult. Just look how good he was in the playoffs on only one leg.

But that’s just my opinion. As a GM, it might be hard not to go all-in when you have superstars like MacKinnon, Makar, and Rantanen in the prime of their careers. I certainly hope Landeskog comes back, because no other team could touch that addition at or around the deadline.

From Snydone: Anton Blidh put on waivers yesterday and suits up again for the Avs tonight. Assuming they knew he wouldn’t be claimed, what advantage do the Avs get by doing this?

It’s really just about roster flexibility. Blidh had to clear waivers to get sent down, so you try to sneak him through waivers before the All-Star break. A team isn’t likely to pick him up to just sit around and be paid NHL money during the break. Now he has another 30 days where you can send him to the AHL without having to worry about waivers. Guys like Malgin, Manson and Byram are set to return in that timeframe.

From Glen: If the outlook on Helm is that he may be done for the season, do the Avs try to get a 4C or are they happy with Meyers. If they do try to add someone to the bottom 6, who do you see as a good fit?

The Avalanche do like Meyers, but that won’t stop them from adding depth. You can like a guy, but you also have to be realistic and see that there’s a way to upgrade on that. They saw how valuable having a good fourth line was in the playoffs last year. They’ve barely had a playable fourth line this season, so there’s no doubt in my mind they’ll look to upgrade. With Helm’s health in question, they may even need two forwards.

From Coach Prime is Coming!: What is your favorite Always Sunny episode?

I’m sneaking this one in at the bottom because it’s not Avalanche related. For the longest time, I felt it was “The Gang Wrestles for the Troops”, but of late, I’ve changed my opinion. It’s “The Gang Tries Desperately to Win an Award”.

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