There is always a lot of speculation about trades when the draft and the offseason shows up.
That got me thinking, if the Avalanche were to go the trading route this particular summer, who might be the ideal with whom to trade?
First, let's identify the needs of the Avalanche.
The Avalanche really need size. As a team, they are very small and have a lot of players that have great speed, but lost a ton of battles in the corners and in the dirty spots in front of the net.
In specific, with the trade of Chris Stewart, the Avalanche are really in need of a power forward that can do the dirty work in front of the net, retrieve pucks in the corner, and out-muscle opponents all over the rink.
Even some type of veteran leader would be a great addition to the team, even though the Avalanche are committed to their "build from within" policy, because it would definitely help the young players develop.
It's always fun to toss ideas around about who would make your team better and that's really all that I'm doing, just tossing some ideas around.
So, for whom might the Avalanche be looking to deal?
According to the Star Tribune, Minnesota Wild GM Chuck Fletcher is "open to trading anybody except Mikko Koivu."
That does open the door for acquiring a lot of talent.
One guy that the Avalanche could potentially be interested in is Martin Havlat.
Havlat is an exciting, highly skilled sniper that also has a lot of good size to go with him.
He has had some injury problems in his career, but when he has been healthy he has managed to put together a couple of 30-goal seasons.
He also would provide a steadying veteran influence on a team that has been the league's youngest for two years running.
This might just be a pipe dream that doesn't end up being logical or even slightly realistic because of who the Avalanche would have to give up, but the Avalanche could use some prospects and a draft pick, maybe in the second round, to pick up Havlat.
The Wild are definitely strapped for cash, and could be willing to think more towards the future in order to dump a big cap hit that won't bother the Avalanche that much.
It is quite possible we're going to see the Wild dealing, though. Their GM said, "I'm open-minded to anything. We have to get better, and we're looking aggressively to do that."
This could, once again, be a bit of a pipe dream on my part, but at least allow me to say why the Avalanche would be interested in picking this guy up, and why it might actually be possible.
Parise would provide the Avalanche with something that they haven't had since the retirement of Joe Sakic, a legit 30-40 goal scorer.
Parise has topped 30 goals in all but two of his seasons. His rookie year and this past season are the only seasons he has not managed to tally 30 goals.
Parise is also going to command a pretty good size contract and the Devils have a lot of their money tied up and may not be able to offer him a good enough contract.
Parise is also a restricted free agent, which might make trading for him a moot point, but the Avalanche could trade to get his rights, and then negotiate a bigger, more long-term contract that would give him what he is worth and lock him up with the Avalanche for a long time.
I don't know about you other Avalanche fans, but I would love to see this guy on a line with Duchene and Hejduk.
A trade price for Parise could be pretty expensive, but getting a guy like Parise might make it worth trading somebody like Liles or Stastny, because you're getting great value in return.
Again, I have no idea about the likelihood of this actually happening, but it doesn't seem like something impossible.
Komisarek isn't the most attractive name of people that the Avalanche might trade for, but he could still be useful.
Though he hasn't really lived up to his $4.5 million cap hit, Komisarek might do well as a part of the Avalanche who are in desperate need of size on the blue line.
Size is definitely something that Komisarek provides a lot of, at 6'4" tall and almost 245 pounds, he could definitely be of use in those battles in the corners that the Avalanche had so much trouble with this last year.
My expectation is that Matt Hunwick will not return because he was a giant waste of space, and Komisarek is bound to perform better than him.
The thing that is tough to figure out with Komisarek is who the Avalanche would have to trade in order to get him.
Komisarek obviously doesn't have the type of value that his contract implies, but could be included as part of a much larger package deal.
The Avalanche need a goalie in a bad, bad way.
According to the Denver Post, Peter Budaj will most likely not be re-signed by the team.
Brian Elliott, who the Avalanche received from Ottawa in exchange for Craig Anderson, did not look good at all after arriving in Colorado.
There are some good free agent goalies on the market this year, but if the Avalanche aren't able to pull Bryzgalov or Vokoun, then they may be willing to trade for Bernier.
He is a very solid back-up to L.A.'s Jonathan Quick.
Bernier has expectations of starting, especially given where he was taken in the draft, 11th overall.
He had good numbers this year.
He was 11-8-3, with a respectable goals against average (2.48) and save percentage (.913).
He does, however, fall into the heading that Avalanche fans are now quite wary of. The back-up goalie that could be a good starter.
Craig Anderson gave lots of Avalanche fans hope that the goalie situation was solved for another 10 years, and then was swept out of town about as fast as he got to Denver.
Avalanche fans, and the organization, might want to avoid this route once again to avoid being burned twice.
Since both of these guys are back-ups, the Avalanche might not have to pay quite as much of a price in order to get them, and they wouldn't necessarily have to pay them number one goalie money right away either, which could provide them with extra motivation.
It might not be a terrible thing to look at.
I was kind of hoping that the Avalanche would make a kind of push for this kid at the trade deadline, which of course didn't happen.
Pittsburgh obviously likes what Neal brings to the table and probably wouldn't be of the mind to trade him.
Still, he's the type of player that the Avalanche could get a lot out of.
Power forward style winger with a lot of skill and ability to score from right in front of the net.
He's only 22, which means that Avalanche could really get a lot out of him for many years to come.
Who knows, with Evgeni Malkin coming back into the line-up at the start of the next season, maybe they don't really have a need for Neal anymore and could be willing to shop him around.
Weirder things have happened!
I just want to reiterate one thing on this article.
All of this is pure speculation based off of what I see as needs for the Avalanche, I don't know whether any of these trades would have even the slightest thread of possibility of actually coming to pass, but part of my job on here is to provide topics of conversation like this one.
So, let's discuss!
Who else would the Avalanche be interested in taking a run at on the trade market this year?