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NHL Trade Deadline 2024: Avalanche Trade Board

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mittelstadt NHL Trade Deadline

With the Colorado Avalanche sitting on their bye week and off for another week, it’s time to really start digging into what they could do prior to the NHL Trade Deadline.

And this year feels a little bit like Groundhog Day when you take a look back at last year’s NHL trade board. A lot of the same names, the same glaring need down the middle, and questions about whether or not Gabriel Landeskog will return for the playoffs. I’d argue last year they may have been in better shape at center, simply because J.T. Compher was having a career year, and looked like he could potentially fill in as the 2C. Once the trade deadline hit, Compher’s play dipped, and it became very clear the team had a hole come playoff time.

The Avalanche tried to fill that whole over the summer by bringing in Ryan Johansen, but it just hasn’t worked out. Now, they’ll look to see what they can do ahead of the NHL Trade Deadline on March 8. And yes, they will likely do something. There’s simply too much smoke around them looking for help down the middle to ignore. Ross Colton has been a strong addition, but Jared Bednar has made it known that in a perfect world, he’s the 3C.

What’s different about this year compared to last? The Avalanche have an obvious need in net, and Chris MacFarland has made it clear they need another goalie.

So let’s get to it again. Here are some names that have been linked to the Avalanche, have been mentioned as available, or would make sense for them to inquire about prior to the NHL Trade Deadline.

C Sean Monahan

Age: 29

Contract: $1,950,000, unrestricted free agent in 2024

Here we go again.

Last year, the Avalanche were linked to Monahan. This year, they are again. The difference? At this time last year, Monahan was injured, and never made his way back. This year, he’s healthy and producing well, having picked up 35 points in 49 games. Those numbers are unlikely to be replicated on another team, as he’s playing over 18 minutes a game and seeing time on the top powerplay unit, but they will likely raise the asking price for him.

Some think the Montreal Canadiens can fetch a first round pick for Monahan. Some, like Elliotte Friedman, think that’s less likely. The appeal of Monahan is that he’s a big, veteran center who comes with a low cap hit. With every team up against the salary cap, that is going to be very attractive to some.

As for the fit with the Avalanche? If anything, the Ryan Johansen experiment should give them a little pause. Johansen has struggled to fit into Colorado’s system because his skating just isn’t good enough, among other things. Monahan isn’t the fleetest of foot either, and could very easily struggle for the same reason. Either way, he’s a name to keep an eye on.

C Adam Henrique

Age: 34

Contract: $5,825,000 million cap hit, unrestricted free agent in 2024.

A year later, and not much has changed, except that Henrique will be an unrestricted free agent after this year, as opposed to having another year left on his deal.

His numbers this year are slightly better than they were last season, so there hasn’t been a real dip in production. MacFarland got an up close and personal look at Henrique a week ago, and watched the veteran pot two goals. At 34, this is not a long-term fix, but you’re looking at a veteran with playoff experience who could potentially fill the hole at 2C through the end of the season. That’s also why he will be a popular target for teams prior to the NHL Trade Deadline.

Henrique seems to have adjusted just fine to Greg Cronin’s style, so that could indicate he’d fit in on the Avalanche, and they’d sure get plenty of intel from a former member of the organization. There would be nothing sexy about an addition like this, but he would make the team better. How much will other teams drive up the cost? That’s the big question, because the Ducks will likely have options.

Elias Lindholm

Age: 29

Contract: $4,850,000, unrestricted free agent in 2024

The Calgary Flames hold a lot of the cards at this years NHL Trade Deadline, and Lindholm is the big prize.

Or is he?

Colorado has been linked to Lindholm all season long, but at this point, there has to be some concern about his play. For the second year in a row, his production has dipped, and his underlying numbers aren’t looking so hot. He wasn’t likely to continue being the point-per-game player he was a few years back, but he really doesn’t look close to it.

Could there be other factors involved? Absolutely. Drama around contract negotiations have been there since last summer, and that can always impact a player. Prior to this season, you could have expected the Flames to net a similar return to what Vancouver got for Bo Horvat last NHL Trade Deadline. Now? I can’t imagine a team wanting to give up that much. Horvat was having a career year, while Lindholm’s production is declining. That doesn’t mean he’ll go for nothing, but it may not be the haul Calgary expected a few months ago.

The Lindholm most people expected to see this season is an ideal 2C behind Nathan MacKinnon, but now, there should be real questions as to what type of player you’re going to get. Any team, not just the Avalanche, would have to do their homework on the player to feel comfortable giving up a nice trade package to acquire him. And Colorado has definitely been doing their homework on him.

Casey Mittelstadt

Age: 25

Contract: $2,500,000, restricted free agent in 2024

Now we’re entering the territory of, “if you’re going to fix the problem, then try to fix it long-term.”

Once a very high draft pick, it’s been a bit of a slow burn for Mittelstadt in Buffalo, but he’s really come into his own the last two years. His underlying numbers at both ends of the ice are really strong, and he’s been the most consistent player on the Sabres this year.

So why the heck would the Sabres potentially deal him?

Kevin Weekes mentioned him as a potential trade option a few weeks ago, and it raised some eyebrows. The easiest answer as to why he’d be available would be the position he plays and money. He’s up for a new contract this summer, and Buffalo has already dished out big money contracts to the likes of Tage Thompson and Dylan Cozens. What else do those players have in common? They also play center. There’s nothing that says you can’t pay three centers, and all are pretty versatile, but do the Sabres hand out another big contract to a player who looks at their best down the middle?

I (obviously) have no say in what the Avalanche do, but if I did, this is the type of guy I’d target. A center entering his prime who could it in that 2C spot behind MacKinnon for years to come. A deal involving a player like this seems less likely at the NHL Trade Deadline and more likely in the summer, but that would be my line of thinking. The cost to acquire a player like this would be a fair bit higher than a standard rental, but it solves the problem for the foreseeable future.

Trevor Zegras

Age: 22

Contract: $5,750,000, restricted free agent in 2026

Zegras has gone from being the cover athlete for NHL 23 to having his name in trade rumors a year and a half later. Quite the turn of events.

Other than one highlight reel goal from him this year, everything has gone wrong. He held out for most of camp, has struggled to produce when in the lineup, and has dealt with some pretty big injuries. Pat Verbeek didn’t draft him, and with Leo Carlsson and Mason McTavish in the mix, they seem set down the middle, which is why Zegras has spent a lot of time on the wing.

Like Mittelstadt, this would be an attempt to fix the issue at 2C in the long-term, but in a much riskier way. And just like Mittelstadt, a move involving Zegras seems more likely in the summer as opposed to the NHL Trade Deadline, but it’s an interesting idea. If you take a swing on Zegras and get him to buy-in, you may just hit a home run on a super talented guy who is under contract for a few more years.

Marc-Andre Fleury

Age: 39

Contract: $3,500,000, unrestricted free agent in 2024

And now we’ve entered the goaltending portion of the piece. The Avalanche will absolutely look to get a goaltender prior to the NHL Trade Deadline. Alexandar Georgiev is simply playing too much, has been inconsistent, and the team doesn’t have much faith in Ivan Prosvetov. The team needs help in net.

As we’ve mentioned previously, Marc-Andre Fleury makes a ton of sense. He holds all the cards, from whether he even wants to be traded to what team he gets moved to. If he says he is okay with a move, I can’t imagine he’ll want to go to a lot of teams, and Minnesota’s options will be limited. Fleury can take a lot of the load off Georgiev down the stretch, and give Bednar another option if Georgiev falters. That’s what this team needs more than just your standard backup goaltender, if you ask me.

Jake Allen

Age: 33

Contract: $3,850,000, unrestricted free agent in 2025

The Canadiens have three NHL goaltenders, and will look to move one prior to the NHL Trade Deadline. There are lots of teams that need help in net, and Allen is not just a rental. That also means he’d cost more than a guy like Fleury.

If the team did have questions as to whether or not Georgiev is the guy, Allen makes sense, but the Avalanche may not want to pay the price necessary to get him. Acquiring him would not only improve the team in net right now, but lock down the goalies in the organization for the 2024-25 campaign as well.

Kevin Lankinen

Age: 28

Contract: $2,000,000, unrestricted free agent in 2024

While Lankinen’s raw numbers don’t look great (.895 save percentage), his goals saved above average is +3.91. It’s a small sample size of just 14 games, but those are solid numbers behind a not-so-great defense. The Predators are a tough team to get a read on in terms of what they will do at the NHL Trade Deadline, but Lankinen would probably have a bit more rope than Prosvetov has gotten to date.

Other Names to Look At

C Boone Jenner – Avalanche fans seem to mention this guy every single year, but there’s no indication from the Blue Jackets that he’s available. Can’t seem to stay healthy over the course of a full season, but is producing at a 20+ goal pace again.

C Morgan Frost – His production is solid, but he seems to be in and out of the doghouse in Philadelphia. He has been a healthy scratch 11 times this season, but the Flyers aren’t going to give him away for nothing. Has a cheap contract through next season that could be really appealing to a team like the Avalanche.

C Nic Dowd – With the Parise signing, combined with the potential return of Landeskog and the eventual arrival of Nikolai Kovalenko, the Avalanche seem set on the wing. They may look for help down the middle at the bottom of the lineup if they have the space to add it, but I don’t expect it to be top priority.

G Kaapo Kähkönen – Another backup goalie option. Performing much better in San Jose this season, but makes a pretty penny and would he move the needle all that much?

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