A major NHL trade that went down Sunday didn’t involve the Colorado Avalanche, but in the coming days it could prove to be a positive for the struggling professional hockey team that plays in Denver. At least that’s what NHL insider Elliotte Friedman believes.
The Minnesota Wild acquired Martin Hanzal, a 30-year-old forward who’s scored 16 goals and recorded 10 assists in 51 games this year, plus Ryan White and a fourth-round pick Sunday. It was a clear win-now move for Minnesota, which leads the Central Division and Western Conference with 84 points. But in order to make the move, the Wild had to send a significant haul: a 2017 first-rounder, a 2018 second-rounder and a conditional 2018 fourth-rounder.
Hanzal’s contract is up after this season. He’s a rental player, which Friedman says bodes well for the Avalanche in the trade market considering that they’re open to moving two forwards (Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog) who are younger, more productive and on long-term deals.
“The one thing I heard last night was when I saw and what other guys saw what Hanzal went for, they’re like, ‘This is not going to decrease Colorado’s price at all,’” Friedman told a Calgary radio station. “That was good for Colorado, I think. And I do believe that. I think Colorado is going to hold. They will rather make no trade than a bad trade.
“But what Minnesota did yesterday and what Arizona did yesterday, it says to me that Colorado is going to say, ‘Hey, look what they got for a rental. We’re not dropping our prices for a guy who’s signed for two years.’ … And in Landeskog’s case, a guy who’s signed even longer than that.”
Duchene, 26, is signed through 2018-19, while Landeskog, 24, is under contract through 2020-21. Duchene has recorded 16 goals and 20 assists this season. Landeskog has netted 13 and assisted 13.
Both have been the subject of trade rumors as the Avalanche’s nightmare continues. So far, Colorado has yet to make a major deal. But with Wednesday’s 1 p.m. MT deadline approaching, one or potentially both of them could be on the move.
Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic is likely asking a lot for either of them. The Minnesota-Phoenix deal could help Sakic as he continues to negotiate.
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