As the March 3rd trade deadline looms, fans of all NHL teams cross their fingers hoping their favorite team will trade wisely.
But Avalanche fans should expect very little. If Joe Sacco makes the smart move, then he will opt to trade for nobody.
Indeed, big names such as Ilya Kovalchuk have been circulating through the trade mill. Certainly, a player like him would give the Avs a shot of energy to push strongly throughout the playoffs, but at what cost?
They could give up soon to be RFA Wojtek Wolski along with some young talent and/or draft picks, but with chemistry going so well, it would be unwise to mess with it. If they do decide to give up a few players, then think veterans like Svatos and Salei who have lost playing time to younger players - which is OK with me.
The Avs are a team littered with youngsters, but they're talented youngsters. In fact, the entire second line is composed of rookies: Matt Duchene at center, with T.J. Galiardi and Brandon Yip manning the left and right wings, respectively.
This trio of first-years are among rookie leaders in points. Duchene leads all rookies with 34 points, and Galiardi too impresses with his 19 points – 10th amongst all rookies. Fellow lineman Yip is averaging nearly a point per game, with 11 in his 15 starts.
The Avs are young and have a bright future awaiting. If they continue meshing together to improve the already magical chemistry, then great things lurk ahead. They even have hopefuls waiting in the system. Take Kevin Shattenkirk and T.J. Hensick, for example.
Shattenkirk, a first-round draft pick in 2007, has been a consistent force as captain for Boston University. The promising defender was named to the 2009 World Junior Championships and is expected to soon make his jump into the NHL.
Last December Hensick was named AHL Player of the Month, netting in four goals and 19 assists as center for the Lake Erie Monsters. What is most impressive is that he recorded at least one point in all but one contest.
It is highly unlikely the boys of burgundy and blue will grasp Lord Stanley this year, and next year one can only predict what will become of Matt "Dutchie" Duchene and the Avs. But one thing is certain: trading for some big names in turn for promising prospects may very well jeopardize the chances of recreating the glory years the Avs were blessed with from 1996 to 2001.
Remember, trading for players does not ensure improvement. Patience is key.
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