NHL Trade Deadline: What Should the Colorado Avalanche Do?

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NHL Trade Deadline: What Should the Colorado Avalanche Do?

I wrote the following piece for Illegal Curve, but the folks there generously agreed to let me cross-post it here at Avs Talk.

Once it's up at Illegal Curve, I'll add a link to their Trade Deadline feature so you can read thoughts on all the other teams trade deadline dilemmas.

The Avalanche are currently out of the playoff picture, and they have slim-to-little hope of making it at this point. Even if they were to make the playoffs, all it would bring is a little more cash to the team's bottom line, not a Stanley Cup.

It's simply not worth it for the franchise to be buyers at the trade deadline.

General Manager Francois Giguere needs to look past a first-round playoff loss and set his sights on selling some assets, but what do the Avalanche have to offer?

Marek Svatos

The Svats machine has languished on the third and fourth lines for most of this season,  and that's simply not his game. He is an opportunistic goal scorer and does best when gobbling up rebounds in the slot created by his linemates. He's an extremely sneaky player, has a nose for open spots and knows how to finish.

For a squad looking to add extra offense for a playoff push, Svatos could be their man.

Ruslan Salei

I was torn over whether to list Brett Clark or Ruslan Salei in this slot, but in the end, I chose Salei. Though I'd prefer to see Clark go at this point, I think Salei is more marketable.

He has Cup Finals experience, can put up some points, and possesses a mean streak which has been stifled by the defensive system of the Avalanche. Currently on pace for 25 points, he would add defensive depth to any team.

Ian Laperriere

I can hear the collective cries of Avalanche fans everywhere. To be clear, in no way do I want to see Ian Laperriere traded, but it's hard to argue that he isn't one of Colorado's top pieces of trade bait.

Laperriere is the epitome of a hockey warrior. He can fight, he can score, he can kill penalties ,and for my money, he's the best character guy in the league.

However, if Giguere does make the tough decision to trade Laperriere, he needs to get enough in return that he won't alienate an already jittery fan base.

But what do the Avalanche need in return?

The most lucrative return would come in the form of draft picks. This is a deep draft, and having a top-10 pick would be great.

The Avs are already headed down that road, but adding one more to the repertoire wouldn't hurt. And when you have a stock of draft picks, teams will come calling on draft day.

It's win-win.

If not draft picks, than the Avs should look to get goaltending from any trade they make. No, it's not a cure-all, but it certainly is a cure-many.

I was on board the Peter Budaj train when the season started; but I got off around mid-December. I never boarded the Andrew Raycroft train, regardless of his win-loss record.

If the Avalanche truly want a return to former glories, they need a solid number one goaltender. He doesn't need to be spectacular, just solid. Of course, spectacular would be fine.

Manny Fernandez will not be that guy. Pascal Leclaire will not be that guy.

Colorado either needs to find a young up-and-coming goaltender to develop him into a number one, or they need to go out and acquire a proven number one. Either way, action needs to be taken, as I don't believe the Avalanche have any aces in the hole with their current prospects.

Many people—from bloggers to beat writers to beat boxer—were disappointed that Giguere ignored a player like Stephane Yelle during the offseason—and for good reason.

Stephane Yelle is the definition of a role player. He never takes a shift off, he blocks shots, he wins faceoffs, he kills penalties, and he can even sub-in as a defenseman if the situation calls for it.

He signed with the Bruins for $750,000 this season.

I don't want to say he's the reason the Bruins are atop the league, but he's one of the reasons the Bruins are atop the league.

If the Avalanche continue to sign players like Darcy Tucker for $2.5 million as opposed to players like Stephane Yelle for $750,000, they can have all the skilled forwards they want, but they won't grind out a Cup win.

None of this will matter if the Avalanche don't make the biggest change necessary and re-tool their coaching staff to remove the "Old Boys Club" mentality that permeates the front office.

Just because Tony Granato is a good guy, doesn't mean he's suitable for the Head Coaching position. Just because Jacques Cloutier has been with the team since 1996 doesn’t mean he’s still cut out to run the defense. Just because Francois Giguere is a number-crunching wizard doesn't mean he's cut out to assemble a Cup winning roster.

If this organization wants to win—and win consistently—they need to go out and get the best people for those respective positions, not the people who are closest to Stan Kroenke or Pierre Lacroix.

Related Links
Krieger: Avs' tough call: buy or sell
Buyers and sellers?

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