The trade deadline finally passed Monday afternoon. Several moves were made across the league, with a handful of moves coming from the Colorado Avalanche camp. Joe Sakic was at it again, making moves left right and center. It took until the 11th hour, but he made them in the end.
With the Avs team now set and ready to rumble for the rest of the season and into the playoffs, I’ll analyze the moves made by the Avalanche this trade deadline season one by one and see how the Avalanche fair from these moves in my opinion . Let me hear yours in the comments!
To the Colorado Avalanche: Josh Manson
To the Anaheim Ducks: Drew Helleson, 2023 2nd Round Pick
The first move the Avs made with the Ducks a week before the trade deadline passed is a sneaky good one. Getting the assistant captain of the Anaheim Ducks is providing good leadership for the Avs from the back in the middle pairing. He will be good in that aspect come playoff time.
Manson has already had a couple of games under his belt in an Avalanche uniform. He hasn’t recorded a point yet but has created some stability in the defense of the Avs. With the leadership and stability he brings into the team, it’s an A-grade.
It is unfortunate to lose Helleson in the deal. The young American defensemen was still at least two years away from breaking into the first team for the Avalanche and probably had options ahead of him at the time of the trade. He will have a better time developing in Anaheim and break into the lineup there sooner than he would have here.
To the Colorado Avalanche: Nico Sturm
To the Minnesota Wild: Tyson Jost
The second move the Avs made was a straight trade with the rival Minnesota Wild for Nico Sturm and Tyson Jost. Jost had never developed to what we’d wished him to be and the fan favorite eventually moved on from Colorado. He will hopefully find life better with a change of scenery.
For the Avs, Sturm coming in is a more physical bottom six player than Jost was. Sturm may not have the same flair and play style Jost had, but a straight trade is fair in this scenario. It fit the need both teams needed and will help both teams. Time will tell how both teams will adapt with their new assets and it’s too soon to say how well this will go down for either team. Therefore, this grade is on the safer side with a B+ grade.
Nico Sturm, traded to COL, has put up very solid results in quite sheltered fourth-line minutes. He’s a couple years older than Jost but quite a bit cheaper as well. #GoAvsGo pic.twitter.com/JdGBMdRPtX
—JFresh (@JFreshHockey) March 15, 2022
To the Colorado Avalanche: Artturi Lehkonen
To the Montreal Canadiens: Justin Barron, 2024 2nd Round Pick
Easily the biggest trade made by the Avs this trade deadline came out of Montreal, with Lehkonen joining the Avs in return for Barron and a 2024 2nd round pick. After missing out on Claude Giroux moving to the Florida Panthers, it was going to come down to Lehkonen or Andrew Copp joining Colorado. Montreal’s asking price went down and the Avs capitalized on it.
Lehkonen will slot in nicely in the middle six and carry this team further. As a Finnish-Valeri Nichushkin or Mikko Rantanen-lite, he will be phenomenal for the Avs and probably the best option for the Avs to pick up and improve their team.
Going to the Canadians is Barron, who is a big loss for the Avalanche. He did play a couple of games this season while the Avs were shorthanded, and looked to have a future with the team. He is a big prospect loss for the Avs and will eventually develop well in Montreal. We’ll see how he turns out in a couple years and evaluate the worth of the trade.
However, for the time being the trade is worth it. Sakic is going all-in, played his hand and it’s going to be cup or bust and Lehkonen is a key part of it. That is why this is the best trade the Avs made this season, with an A grade.
I’m not exaggerating: Lehkonen has played almost every game this season and yet his results compared to his teammates look like this. pic.twitter.com/M8kaabu2Y4
—JFresh (@JFreshHockey) March 21, 2022
To the Colorado Avalanche: Andrew Cogliano
To the San Jose Sharks: 2024 5th Round Pick
The last move made by the Avalanche came within the final hour of the deadline, bringing in Cogliano from the Sharks for a 2024 5th round pick. For such a little return, this trade is a win for the Avs. The veteran will slot into the fourth line and not any higher, but will be good in the face-off circle for the Avs and fit into the PK as well.
Otherwise, it’s not a very exciting move for the Avs. Depending on how well he does or doesn’t perform, he could very well end up out of the lineup thanks to guys like Mikhail Maltsev, Darren Helm or even Kurtis MacDermid. We’ll see how he does when he joins this youthful team on the fourth line, so for now let’s give it a B grade.
Andrew Cogliano, acquired by COL, is a depth defensive forward and PK specialist. Not sure how much he still has in the tank or if his skating is still a factor. Was OP in NHL 13. #GoAvsGo pic.twitter.com/txKDnj4h0p
—JFresh (@JFreshHockey) March 21, 2022
After the eventful moves and ringing phone lines at Ball Arena, the phones will quiet down while the action on the ice heats up. With that being said, there’s several combinations that could be used for the Avs if everyone is healthy. If everyone has returned healthy come playoff time, this is what the Avs just might be running with:
Gabriel Landeskog – Nathan MacKinnon – Mikko Rantanen
Valeri Nichushkin – Nazem Kadri – Andre Burakovsky
Artturi Lehkonen – Alex Newhook – Logan O’Connor
JT Compher-Nico Sturm-Andrew Cogliano
Devon Toews – Cale Makar
Sam GirardJosh Manson
Bowen Byram – Erik Johnson
Jack Johnson, Ryan Murray, Kurtis MacDermid, Nicolas Aube-Kubel, Mikhail Maltsev, Darren Helm
Who knows what Joe Sakic runs with come playoff season and if everyone returns in healthy fashion. But all we know is that this trade deadline was a marathon this season – and hopefully at the end of the marathon NHL season it will all succumb to Lord Stanley parading around Downtown Denver this summer.
There’s a lot to be excited for Avs faithful. Let’s close out this regular season and steamroll into the playoffs. Let’s go Avs!