With the NHL's trade deadline only a month and change away, it's never too early for teams to begin looking at potential players of interest.
The Colorado Avalanche have the luxury of being one of the NHL's lowest payroll teams and therefore have the ability to take on larger salaries—or even absorb the salary of a player whom they have no interest to make a bigger deal work.
It can be agreed that the Avalanche's weak points are on defense and in the net (which is largely a byproduct of the defense).
However, many of the Avalanche's top prospects—Stefan Elliott, Tyson Barrie, Cameron Gaunce—are defensemen, so any moves that are made must not prevent those players from competing for a roster spot in the near future.
Additionally, the Avalanche invested a high draft pick in goaltender Calvin Pickard, so pursuing a long term goalie option may not be to their benefit.
Keeping in mind these facts, here are five players that will help the Avalanche in both the short and long term.
One of the biggest problems with the Avalanche's current defense is who the right handed Kevin Shattenkirk is paired with.
Kyle Quincey would have been ideal, but he's out for the season.
Meanwhile, Ryan Wilson should be forced into top four minutes, while Matt Hunwick doesn't compliment him well (or anyone well, for that matter).
Trading for Beauchemin, who's signed through next year to a reasonable contract, would give the Avalanche a good two way defenseman to play compliment Shattenkirk's offense.
He'd also provide veteran leadership to a very young defense which will likely lose captain Adam Foote to retirement in the off-season.
Robyn Regehr of the Calgary Flames is another option to fill the same role as Beauchemin.
The Avalanche have alot of puck movers, but not alot of guys who are sturdy in their own end. With a penalty kill ranked an abysmal 29th in the NHL, Regehr would provide help immediately, as well as pairing up well with any of the Avalanche's offensive minded defensive prospects in the future.
Regehr is signed for two more seasons, and while it seems unlikely the division rivals would trade with one another, the teams did just that two seasons ago in a trade that sent defenseman Jordan Leopold to Calgary.
Even though the Avalanche's primary needs are defense and goaltending, they could really use some size up front.
Clarkson has been a little inconsistent since signing a three year contract that averages nearly $3 million dollars per season, which might entice the Devils to trade him for the right price.
From an Avalanche perspective, his grittiness would be a welcome addition to the Avalanche's checking line, which has been a revolving door at right wing this season.
By no means would acquiring Mike Smith shore up the Avalanche's goaltending problems, but Smith would provide the Avalanche with another goaltender to add to the mix.
Smith is on the better side of 30 and his contract expires in the summer. Given that he seems to be a fifth wheel in Tampa Bay after the team's acquisition of now starting goaltender Dwayne Roloson, the seemingly low trade value of Smith might be a good gamble for the Avalanche to take.
Maybe the Avalanche want to forgo adding a long term piece and are simply interested in a player who can help the team in the short term.
It wouldn't be out of the question to think so—after all, they traded for veteran Stephane Yelle at last year's trade deadline.
Should the Avalanche move in this direction, acquiring veteran Radek Martinek from the New York Islanders would be a great pick up.
The 33 year old defenseman has played his whole career with the Islanders, but unfortunately has spent a great deal of it watching from the press box due to injury.
However, this year he's been relatively healthy, and could provide a solid precence on the Avalanche's blue line down the stretch and in the playoffs.