We are officially less than 24 hours away from the NHL trade deadline.
The Colorado Avalanche are off today, but will be back on the ice Friday before traveling to Dallas for a big matchup with the Stars.
One thing that we will look for at practice tomorrow is the availability of Josh Manson. He “tweaked” something late in the game against the Devils. He’s been taking a lot of maintenance days lately, but who knows if this is related to the injury that caused him to miss a few months.
I said it when the Avalanche acquired Jack Johnson that I still think they need to add a defenseman before the NHL trade deadline. If Manson is hurt, it becomes more of a need. There’s still no clear timeline on what’s going to happen with Erik Johnson, and while I would be surprised if Cale Makar missed both games this weekend, you just never know. Depth on defense is crucial in the playoffs, and the Avalanche could use another body.
I’ve long felt Dmitri Kulikov is a good fit for the Avalanche. He can play both sides and can step in and help immediately. The Ducks held him out for “trade related reasons” on Wednesday, but haven’t moved him yet. They’ve been pretty quiet, all things considered. Another name is John Klingberg, but to me, he doesn’t make sense when you look at the build of the Avalanche defense.
As for forward, it came out on Wednesday that the Avalanche are hunting for a “scoring winger” before the deadline. People might be surprised to hear them targeting a winger more than a center, but the reality is, there’s not a lot of centers out there.
Who fits the bill? James van Riemsdyk is still sitting out there. He’s a proven goal scorer, even as he gets older. He’s making $7,000,000, so the Flyers would have to eat a good chunk of that. The concern with him is skating, so you do wonder how he would fit. Max Domi is another name, and the Avalanche have sniffed around him for years. (UPDATE: Domi was traded to Dallas five minutes after this posted)
If the Avalanche really wanted to take a home run swing, Lawson Crouse is an interesting name. He’s only 25, and signed through 2027 at $4.3 million. That’s cheap. He would not come cheap in a trade, but he would fit the system to a tee. Imagine Lehkonen, Nichushkin, and Crouse on separate lines causing havoc. The Coyotes apparently have no interest in icing a real team right now, but he would still cost a lot to acquire.
Backup goaltender is on a lot of folks minds after Justus Annunen struggled Wednesday night, but the goaltending market isn’t the best. A positive update on Francouz would be nice. Annunen was sent down Wednesday night. I wouldn’t be surprised if Keith Kinkaid comes up to take his spot.
The NHL trade deadline is at 1 PM MST on Friday. CHN will have you covered if any news breaks with the Avalanche.