Trade talk continues to pick up, but one thing we haven’t talked as much about is the cost to acquire some of these available players. On Monday, one NHL Insider shared what they believe is the price for one of the centers on the market, and it caught me off guard just a little bit.
With the Colorado Avalanche, it looks like they’re going to get Artturi Lehkonen back on Wednesday, but he may not be the only player that returns. Bowen Byram was taken off IR, and now the Avalanche have to make a decision on their blueline.
All that and more in this Tuesday edition of Evan’s Daily.
Colorado Hockey Now
While the Avalanche wouldn’t 100% confirm Artturi Lehkonen is back on Wednesday, it sure seems that way, and they’re really excited about that.
You can get a subscription to CHN+ for $29.99 a year with the code “evan10” and get access to the + content on every site in the network. In addition to the + content, everything will be ad-free, which is the biggest perk. There will be + content on Tuesday, as we look at how Ross Colton has adjusted to center.
Byram Off IR – What to do with Malinski?
Monday night, the Avalanche officially took Bowen Byram off IR, so he’s cleared to return on Wednesday if Colorado wants to play him. That means the Avalanche have a tough decision to make. It might not really be all that tough for them, because Sam Malinski can freely go back-and-forth from the AHL to the NHL, but it’s awfully hard to send him down with the way he’s played. I doubt the team wants to risk losing Caleb Jones on waivers, so I don’t think he’s going anywhere. Jack Johnson has been fighting through some lower-body issues, so it wouldn’t be the worst thing to let him rest a bit.
I think Malinski has earned the right to stick in the NHL, but we know there’s more that goes into these decisions. They don’t want him sitting around if he’s not playing. With Lehkonen and Byram back, the Avalanche have to start worrying about the salary cap a little bit again.
I asked Avalanche assistant coach Nolan Pratt, who runs the defense, if Malinski was a surprise.
“I don’t know if I would say surprising,” Pratt said. “He was someone the organization tapped coming out of college, but he has been, it’s a good way of putting, a nice surprise for us. He’s got some patience and poise with the puck and he’s a great skater, and I think he’s going to continue developing here as he gets more experience at the NHL speed and size, and will continue to develop his game.”
For what it’s worth, the Avalanche sent out a release that Malinski is doing a team event on Thursday, so he may be sticking in the NHL through the break. I’m guessing they’d like him playing over the All-Star break, though, so he may go to the Eagles.
NHL Trade Talk
On Monday, Frank Seravalli put out an article that the Montreal Canadiens “should” get a first round pick for Sean Monahan. The 29 year old center is now up to 31 points in 46 games, and has bounced back after (another) injury-riddled year. Health is one of the big concerns with Monahan, but he’s managed to stay healthy this year.
The Avalanche have obviously been linked to Monahan quite a bit over the last year, and were again in his article. Would you give up a first round pick for Monahan? NHL teams always covet big centers, and he can win face-offs. A fair chunk of his production has come on the top powerplay unit with the Canadiens, and I doubt he’ll be put in that spot if a playoff team picks him up.
I have no doubt that some team would be willing to pony up a first. After all, Montreal got one (and more) for Ben Chiarot, but would I give one up? I’d certainly lean towards no, especially with concerns about how his skating would fit on the Avalanche. Monahan isn’t a clear-cut 2C, and while the Avalanche probably need help down the middle either way, if you’re giving up a first rounder, I think you want a clear upgrade.
National Hockey Now
Should Kyle Dubas try to patch the Penguins, or blow it all up?
Looking at some potential fits if the Flames decided to deal Elias Lindholm to the Canucks.
From Montreal’s perspective, the pros and cons of dealing Sean Monahan.