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TRADE ANALYSIS: Newhook Move Has To Be Start of Something Bigger



Avalanche Alex newhook nhl trade

Is it a surprise the Colorado Avalanche dealt Alex Newhook today? Not at all. With the Ryan Johansen acquisition, the writing was on the wall that they didn’t see Newhook as a solution at the 2C, at least for next year.

The return? That was a bit of a surprise, and I’ll get to that part.

On Tuesday, the Avalanche announced they had dealt Newhook to the Montreal Canadiens. In return, they received a first round pick in 2023 (31st overall), a second round pick in 2023 (37th overall), and defensive prospect Gianni Fairbrother.

In speaking with Montreal Hockey Now’s Marc Dumont, Fairbrother is likely a throw-in. He missed all of the 2022-23 season due to a knee injury.

“Honestly, he’s a nothing prospect that doesn’t have more than AHL potential,” Dumont said. “Dealt with a lot of injuries. Decent in most aspects, but doesn’t stand out in any. Serviceable AHL’er.”

That’s not really surprising. He’s the throw-in for the deal, and the Avalanche do need bodies in the AHL.

The meat of the deal is the two draft picks. In their acquisitions of both Johansen and Fredrik Olofsson, the Avalanche gave up a grand total of zero assets. And that’s a good thing, because they didn’t exactly have a ton of assets to throw around to begin with. Lack of assets was likely going to hold them back from making any big upgrades via trade.

Well, now they’ve got some assets to move.

With picks 27, 31, and 37 over the next few days, the Avalanche suddenly have some valuable pieces to move. Would I be surprised if they kept all of them? 100%. And if they do keep all of them, I will be very confused, but we’ll get to that part soon.

As far as trade value goes, I know some fans are disappointed they moved Newhook for just draft picks. I’m actually a little surprised at that part myself. But when we’re looking at value, I think the Avalanche did well here. There are a lot of good players on the trade market. A lot. And Colorado just pulled in a late first rounder and a high second rounder for a player whose numbers regressed. Newhook is a great guy and hope he does well in Montreal, but there were legitimate questions as to what his role would be on the team moving forward.

I think it’s clear the Avalanche did not view Newhook as highly as some fans did, both in terms of present ability and future potential. As the year went on, his role on the team shrunk. By the playoffs, he was on the fourth line. If you don’t think a player is a great fit on your team, or has a true role for you, it’s probably best to trade them while they still have value.

And that’s what the Avalanche did here.

Now, statistically speaking, finding an NHL player in both of those draft spots is far from a slam-dunk. And that brings us to the final, and perhaps most important portion of this piece, and that’s the trade grade.

Trade Grade: TBD?

Is this a cop out? Maybe a little bit, but let me explain.

I think the Avalanche got good value for Newhook, but what they plan on doing with those draft picks determines how you can grade this trade. If Colorado keeps both those draft picks (again, that would surprise me), I’ll be more than just a little confused. While this team needs to restock its cupboard with some prospects, they’re also built to win now. Drafting some players who have maybe a 50% chance of becoming NHL players in a few years doesn’t help you with that.

But if the Avalanche move one or more of these picks for immediate help, this trade makes a heck of a lot more sense. That’s what I anticipate will happen, but we’ll just have to wait and see. After all, this team only has 6 NHL forwards signed for next year (7 if you count Olofsson), so they need immediate help.

And until we know what they’re doing with those picks, I’m not sure we can truly judge this move.

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