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Avalanche, MacFarland Unable to Find ‘Right Fit’ on Quiet Trade Deadline Day



Chris MacFarland trade deadline avalanche

Chris MacFarland was looking, but ultimately, the right player at the right price was not there for the Colorado Avalanche before Friday’s NHL Trade deadline.

They worked the phone lines right up until the 1 PM MST trade deadline, but right before that deadline, they knew nothing was going to happen.

“I would say probably about five minutes before the deadline,” MacFarland said on when he knew a deal wasn’t there to be made.

The team tried to make a move, but ultimately, no NHL trades were made.

“There were things that piqued our interest,” MacFarland told the media. “I think it was just finding the right fit, whether it’s trade assets going back or draft pick capital, or things like that. I think that was sort of the challenge.”

Assets are an issue for the organization currently. Last Spring, they moved out their top two defensive prospects, and two future second round picks. Before last season started, they had moved out a young defenseman in Conor Timmins and their first round pick to acquire Darcy Kuemper. All of those moves ultimately paid off in a big way, but it’s left the cupboard a little thin.

While the team is low on draft picks, they weren’t against moving them if the right deal came along.

“I don’t think it was something that we were not moving draft capital,” MacFarland said. “We entertained moving picks this year, but it, again, had to have made sense. We just weren’t able to find the right deals that made sense. It wasn’t for a lack of trying, it wasn’t from a ‘we’re not moving picks’ standpoint, it just had to make sense.”

One of the big questions entering the trade deadline was the plan for Gabriel Landeskog and Erik Johnson. Will either of them make it back this regular season?

Unfortunately, that question still has not been answered.

“I certainly don’t know where they’re at in terms of return to play,” MacFarland said. “We’ll get a further update on EJ next week.”

The same goes for Darren Helm, who they are still hopeful will return this year.

Not knowing the status of any of those players didn’t limit what they were looking to do, according to MacFarland. They do, however, want to get those players back, particularly Landeskog.

“There’s no player that we can add to our lineup that can match what he (Landeskog) brings,” MacFarland said.

While the Avalanche had a quiet day, it hasn’t been a quiet month for them. They did acquire Lars Eller earlier this week. Last week, they brought back Jack Johnson, and in January, Matt Nieto was re-acquired.

The organization is excited to see what Eller can add. MacFarland said they weren’t focused on adding a player for a certain line, but wanted to add center depth. They know they paid a premium for it, though.

“It was a steep draft pick price,” MacFarland said on the Eller move. “Washington got a really good pick for a good hockey player. A solid veteran, a big body in the middle of the ice.

It was a quiet day for the Avalanche, but the organization did still make a trade. It just wasn’t a very big one.

Anton Blidh, who played signed as a free agent with the Avalanche and played 14 games this season, was dealt to the New York Rangers. In return, the Avalanche picked up Gustav Rydahl. The 28 year old center is in his first season in North America, and has registered 15 points in 40 games for the Hartford Wolfpack.

MacFarland indicated he’s a player who may see NHL time this year if needed. He has yet to play an NHL game to date.

Other Tidbits from MacFarland

  • I asked MacFarland about Nikolai Kovalenko and here’s what he had to say: “Our development staff stays in touch. Miroslav Zalesak (Avalanche pro scout) in Europe is a guy who monitors Nikolai very well. He’s one of our top prospects, so he’s a guy that, at some point, we hope to have a conversation about.”
  • The organization is pretty happy with the AHL players that have had to come up and play in the NHL this year under difficult circumstances. Players specifically mentioned were Brad Hunt, Ben Meyers, Jean-Luc Foudy, and Andreas England.
  • MacFarland was not aware of any plans or timeline for a new practice facility at this moment.

I’ll have more to add soon with my thoughts on the moves the Avalanche made leading up to the deadline. Needless to say, I’m surprised they didn’t do anything today. Stay tuned to CHN for that.

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