Colorado Avalanche: A Tale of Two Trades

James CriderCorrespondent IDecember 14, 2010

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 10:  Andrew Ladd #16 of the Atlanta Thrashers battles for the puck against Matt Hunwick #48 of the Colorado Avalanche at Philips Arena on December 10, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The last three minutes of the Avalanche's 7-5 win over Chicago gave insight into the difference in the quality of play they've gotten from recent acquisitions Thomas Fleischmann and Matt Hunwick.

It was Fleischmann who, with the Avalanche down 5-4 at the 17:36 mark of the third period, scored the game-tying goal before setting up Matt Duchene for the game-winner exactly one minute later.

He added another assist on Ryan O'Reilly's empty net goal a minute later and now has seven points in six games since being acquired by Colorado.

Matt Hunwick hasn't fit in as well.

The Avalanche's win over Chicago was also a defining game for the Avalanche's recently acquired defenseman; however, it was when the Avalanche were trailing 5-4 that Hunwick's play was making more of an impact.

Hunwick only played 16:44 worth of ice time in the game, but soft play in his own zone caused him to be on the ice for three of the Avalanche's five goals against. He was eventually on the ice for the Avalanche's last three goals, which saved his stats, but he had little to do with the goals as he went pointless in the game.

For a team who's roster selections are determined by a "throw it to the wall and see what sticks" system, Fleischmann looks like he's earned himself a spot. As long as he stays healthy, he'll be a main stay on Matt Duchene's line thanks to his ability to get him the puck consistently.

Hunwick, on the other hand, has a long road ahead of him. He played his way out of Boston and has so far failed to cement himself in the blender that is the Colorado Avalanche's defense.

When Kyle Cumiskey and Kyle Quincey return to the lineup, Hunwick may again find himself on the outside looking in.