Colorado Avalanche: Buy or Sell at the Trade Deadline?

Patrick OlsenContributor IIIFebruary 1, 2012

DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 18:  Kyle Quincey #27 of the Colorado Avalanche controls the puck against the Dallas Stars at the Pepsi Center on November 18, 2011 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

As the trade deadline approaches, many teams find themselves buyers, while some find themselves selling current talent for future hope. The Colorado Avalanche are a team on the verge of being a playoff contender, but are not in a position to mortgage their future for a run this year.

The question that must be answered is: Are they buyers or sellers?

As of right now, they are buyers. They have plenty to offer in terms of players, particularly defensemen and goaltending prospects that cannot all fit into the roster currently or in the near future.

With eight defensemen on the roster—most of whom are under 27 years of age—plenty of teams will be very interested in throwing offers the Avs' way. There are very talented players available this year who would fit very nicely into Colorado's system.

This will be a very busy deadline for all teams, but the Avalanche in particular must decide who is worth the risk, what to trade and where they see themselves in three years.

If Colorado continues to be in playoff contention, I fully expect them to call up the obvious sellers and upgrade their wingers. If they start to fade away however, I believe they will do what they can to replace the first-round pick they traded away in the Varlamov deal.

They have to start and keep winning consistently before it's reasonable to even start speculating on who would work for the Avs and who their trade partners might be.

If they are sellers however, it might be a blessing in disguise.

If they cannot make the playoffs it is unlikely Coach Sacco would be back next year, and that might be the best upgrade we could make, regardless. If we are sellers, we might commit to sending Stastny out for some younger and potentially better players for next season.

Historically, it takes a team to be around nine points out of the last playoff spot for GMs to confirm they are sellers, and I find it unlikely that will happen to Colorado this year.

This team will be buyers and hopefully will know how to handle the situation. Either way, they will be in good shape for years to come.