Wednesday’s 1 p.m. MT NHL trade deadline will be here soon. Leading up to it, the Colorado Avalanche have been labeled “sellers” so many times, you might think they were an HGTV couple who hosted their own home-flipping special and not a professional hockey franchise.
Everybody seems to believe that the Avalanche will deal at least one key player in order to get more defensive help. The Avalanche have committed a lot of resources to their current group of players, and the pieces they’ve assembled just aren’t working well together. Colorado is last in the NHL in points and has a hideous minus-80 goal differential in 59 games.
So yeah, it makes sense why people think the Avalanche will be sellers. But so far, they’ve yet to make any moves. Here are four players to keep an eye on as the deadline approaches.
2016-17: 16 goals, 20 assists, minus-20
Duchene might just be the juiciest name on the market out there for any team looking to upgrade offensively ahead of a playoff run. The 26-year-old is on pace to have a 55-plus point season for the sixth time in eight years. His contract, which runs through 2018-19 with an annual cap hit of $6 million, is pretty reasonable for a player of his caliber. The Avalanche will ask a lot in return for him, which could be why he hasn’t been dealt yet.
“There are a couple of teams with interest in Matt Duchene and/or Gabriel Landeskog who don’t think they can complete a trade and still compete for the Stanley Cup,” Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman wrote this week.
Which brings us to the next Colorado player to monitor.
2016-17: 11 goals, 12 assists, minus-17
The Avalanche’s 24-year-old captain might have one of the least fun jobs in sports: explaining why this team is so bad game after game after game. Landeskog has spent all six of his NHL seasons in Colorado. A change of scenery might do him and the Avalanche some good. ESPN recently rated him its No. 3 NHL trade deadline candidate.
2016-17: 6 goals, 12 assists, minus-12
Yet another Colorado forward who could be on the move. “In the middle of everything else, it sounds like the Avalanche would also like to find a new home for Mikhail Grigorenko,” Friedman wrote this week. Grigorenko is 22 years old and will be a restricted free agent this offseason. It would be wise for the Avalanche to at least kick the tires on what they could get back for him.
2016-17: 8 goals, 10 assists, minus-19
The man who ranks 16th all-time in goals sounds like he would love to get traded to a contender. For all that Iginla’s accomplished in his 21-year career, he’s never been part of a Stanley Cup team. Iginla is pushing 40, and he’s receiving a $5.5 million salary this season. Are there any teams out there willing to take that on?
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