NHL Trade Deadline: Can the Avalanche Help Milan Hejduk and Themselves?

Adam OdekirkContributor IIFebruary 26, 2011

Milan Hejduk can help a contender on the way to a cup, but can the Avs let him go?
Milan Hejduk can help a contender on the way to a cup, but can the Avs let him go?John Grieshop/Getty Images

If the Avalanche cannot beat the cellar dwelling Edmonton Oilers then their already dim playoff hopes are essentially dead as we look down the stretch.

This puts the Avalanche in a rather unfamiliar position to be sellers at the deadline in an effort to see if they can find value that will help them look forward to 2011-2012.

Of course the annual trade rumors will swirl around John Michael-Liles as they always seem to do and maybe this year is actually the year where Liles finds a new home at the deadline. However, there is one intriguing possibility for the Avalanche to look into that might truly be a win-win for the right partner.

Milan Hejduk is cruising towards yet another 20 goal season for the Avalanche which has become something as easy to count on in Denver as ski traffic on I-70. He has been a staple on the wing for the Avalanche for 11 seasons and has seen the view from the top and bottom of the NHL as a member of the Avs.

Hejduk is the type of player whose steady play always seems to match the talent that is around him. Whether it was on the AMP line with Alex Tanguay and Peter Forsberg or being the soft handed finisher on many of Paul Stastny’s assists, Hejduk has still got the goods when it comes finding the back of the net.

At the trade deadline contenders are always looking for two things: Great Talent and Cheap Rentals.

Luckily for the Avalanche Hejduk meets both criteria to be a valuable commodity at the deadline with his one year extension expiring at the end of this season.

But how can the Avs part with their steadiest offensive producer and someone who can arguably be mentioned as one of the greatest to wear the Avs sweater?

The Avalanche already have a disillusioned fan base standing at the edge of madness due to their recent moves, and a deal like this could cause a full fledged riot.

Although, it might not if there is a good chance that he comes back to the Avalanche after giving it a go with a contender and re-signs with the Avs in the offseason.

Hejduk offers huge potential reward for those ready to part with something of value in an effort to win immediately.

The Penguins have decided to bring back a more familiar soft-handed sniper in Alexei Kovalev but are the Capitals willing to deal with the Avs again to try and keep pace? Is Tampa Bay GM Steve Yzerman interested in bringing a former foe into the fold to add some secondary scoring to emerging star Steven Stamkos?

The list of potential suitors is long and the Avalanche have a special opportunity to give a dedicated soldier another shot at glory and potentially make the team a better one to return to if he so chooses.

So maybe Hejduk can keep his 20 goals streak alive with the Avs next season despite taking a little break to chase a second cup with another team.