The upstart Avalanche have quickly come together under first-year head coach Patrick Roy, and sure, they play in the tough Western Conference. But they're knocking on the postseason door for the first time in a long time, and they'll be in position to upgrade before the March 5 trade deadline.
Colorado is a fast team with plenty of talent in its forward group. Led by captain Gabriel Landeskog, leading scorer Matt Duchene, Calder Trophy candidate Nathan MacKinnon and the two-way talents of Ryan O'Reilly, the Avalanche have a young core that could help bring back the glory that faded after Roy's playing days.
Get in line
Colorado is one of several teams looking to upgrade the blue line in anticipation of the stretch run.
The Avalanche were involved in preseason rumors, with the focus being on acquiring a defenseman. Some indicated that talks had taken place with the Philadelphia Flyers about oft-injured defenseman Andrej Meszaros. However, the two teams eventually consummated a one-for-one swap that brought Max Talbot to Denver for Steve Downie. Might the teams be interested in another deal?
NHL-ready defensemen are hard to come by, and teams aren't willing to give them up unless they get something tangible in return. That's the problem the Avs face at this deadline. They might have the pieces to make a deal work, but they probably wouldn't want to sacrifice what they'd have to give up in any deal.
Forwards on the move?
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P.A. Parenteau is rumored to be on the trade block and could be a piece the Avalanche use before March 5. A rumor broke a few backs linking Parenteau to the Montreal Canadiens for Rene Bourque. Conflicting reports make it unclear where the proposal originated from, but it was ultimately declined.
Louis Jean of TVA stated that Montreal was interested in acquiring Jamie McGinn, but Colorado balked at the offer.
Paul Stastny has been a rumored trade chip for years now and is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. Might this finally be the year that Colorado trades him? Stastny has 41 points in 52 games and would be a valuable trade chip in any deal.
Ryan O'Reilly's future?
The Avalanche will be able to trade O'Reilly on Feb. 28, one year after he signed a two-year, $10 million offer sheet from the Calgary Flames. Things have dramatically changed since the signing of the offer sheet, namely the regime change that brought in Roy and president of hockey operations Joe Sakic.
Roy loves O'Reilly, and his on-ice contributions have made the hefty price tag of the offer sheet a non-factor. It seems unlikely that O'Reilly is moved.