It seems like every summer the Colorado Avalanche go out and acquire a player made available by their current team when their value is perhaps at its lowest.
In 2019, it was Andre Burakovsky they targeted from the Washington Capitals. A talented young player who needed a change of scenery. Just over a year later, the Avalanche stole Devon Toews from the Islanders, who were in a bit of a cap crunch. And last year, Colorado went all-in on the struggling Alexandar Georgiev, giving up some mid-round draft picks for the goaltender, and it paid off big time.
What player in a similar position could they target this summer? Look no further than Yegor Sharangovich in New Jersey.
This week, it was reported that the Devils are taking calls on Sharangovich. The 25 year old winger took a step back this past season, and with the acquisitions the Devils made throughout the season, he was a scratch for most of the playoffs, dressing for just three games.
I asked our New Jersey Hockey Now reporter James Nichols what happened with him this season, as he scored 24 goals just one year prior.
“He had a down year this year. Think it was a matter of circumstance,” he said. “Palat coming in pushed him down the depth chart. I think he thrives more in a scoring role and he was reduced to more of a checking role. He’s a really good two-way forward, though. He can play on both special teams units and has a really good shot.”
The Palat signing was one thing, but the acquisition of Timo Meier at the deadline really pushed Sharangovich down, and with the Devils looking to re-sign Meier long-term, that might mean a trade for the young Belarusian forward is on the table.
While Sharangovich lost his job in the playoffs, he still had a steady role during the regular season. Nico Hischier was the only forward who averaged more time-on-ice per game on the penalty kill, so he was still a trusted player. That same penalty kill finished fourth in the NHL.
Offensively, the biggest dip for Sharangovich came with goal scoring. His assists-per-60 rate at even strength was identical to his previous two seasons, but his goals-per-60 took a big nosedive, falling from .94 to .6. Could some of that have been bad luck? Perhaps. His expected goals-per-60 rate was actually higher this year than last, but his shooting percentage dropped pretty significantly compared to the prior two seasons.
So while his numbers took a step back, he was still generating chances. The puck just wasn’t going in the net as often as it was his first two seasons. It wouldn’t be unreasonable to think he can return to the production from the previous season.
To his credit, Sharangovich vowed to make some changes this summer to see if it would help.
“This season didn’t go the way I wanted it to go,” Sharangovich explained. “I’m going to work on myself this summer. I will change my preseason workouts on the ice because a lot of guys got to a new level. There’s a couple of new guys on the team and my ice time went down. My role has changed.”
Targeting a player with talent who got pushed down the lineup is exactly what the Avalanche did with Burakovsky, so it’s easy to see why Sharangovich might be someone they would target.
So what would it take to acquire him? According to Nichols, the Devils might be willing to move him for a second round pick.
That’s a bit of a problem.
The Avalanche don’t own any second round picks for the next three seasons, as they moved them in three separate trade deadline deals the last two seasons. So if Colorado was interested in Sharangovich, they might have to get creative to acquire him, which is exactly what I said MacFarland might have to do this summer.
But targeting the player makes sense, and given the previously mentioned trade history of the Avalanche, I wouldn’t be surprised if they’ve already made a call.