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TRADE: Avalanche Go Big, Acquire Casey Mittelstadt For Bowen Byram



mittelstadt NHL Trade Deadline avalanche

Colorado Avalanche general manager Chris MacFarland was a very busy man on Wednesday.

Just a few minutes after news broke that the Avalanche had moved on from Ryan Johansen and acquired defenseman Sean Walker from the Philadelphia Flyers, the other domino fell.

A move that we’ve discussed at CHN for well over a month actually happened – Casey Mittelstadt is headed to the Avalanche. In return, Colorado is sending Bowen Byram to the Buffalo Sabres. The move is one-for-one, which is extremely rare to see in the NHL.

Byram was suspiciously absent from morning skate on Wednesday, but afterwards, we were told he was “under the weather.” Maybe that was the case, but he’s headed to Buffalo, and it sounds like they see him as a key piece of their future on the blueline, which they should. He’s had a tough season, as he’s struggled to find any consistency, and will get a fresh start on a young Sabres squad. He’ll also be reunited with Erik Johnson, at least for a moment.

Byram was a huge part of the 2022 Stanley Cup team, playing his best hockey against Tampa Bay. He hasn’t quite been able to reach that level since then, but at just 22 years old, there’s plenty of time for him to get there.

With Mittelstadt, the Avalanche not only solve their second line center issue in the present, but likely in the future. He currently makes $2,500,000 this year, but is a restricted free agent after the season at just 25 years old. The Avalanche will almost certainly want to keep him around for a long time. He’s a smart two-way player who makes everyone around him better with his playmaking skills.

He was Buffalo’s leading scorer with 47 points in 62 games.

Buffalo’s assistant general manager was in Denver for a few games last month, which always will raise eyebrows. That also happens to be around the time that Byram’s game picked up a bit, as he had his best stretch of the season.

It’s important to note that with both the Walker and Mittelstadt trades, the Avalanche have gained cap space, so there’s room for them to make more moves.

I’ve got a lot of video to watch in the coming days for CHN+, so make sure you’re subscribed. Stay tuned for more analysis breaking down this deal and the Walker trade.

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