You’ve read all the rumors.
Duchene. Landeskog. Carl.
OK, I made the last one up. But I can dream!
We’ve discussed potential trades with the Avs for a while now, but haven’t gotten a Rocky Mountain perspective.
We reached out to our friends at Mile High Hockey to get their thoughts on a potential deal for Matt Duchene or Gabriel Landeskog, and Ryan was nice enough to respond.
If you want either of those guys in black and gold, you probably won’t like the ask.
SCOC: Of the big names being rumored to be on the block (Duchene, Landeskog), who do you think is most likely to be moved?
MHH: My feeling is Duchene is the more likely of the two to be moved. He's older (26 vs. 24), has just two remaining years on his contract and plays a position the organization has the means to replace in the coming years.
More and more, I think the team is starting to learn how important Landeskog is for driving possession and covering for centers who aren't strong backcheckers. He can be had, but it will be at a premium.
SCOC: What are the Avs' biggest needs as a franchise?
MHH: A better question is what don't they need! There's serious talent on this team, but there's just no depth to it whatsoever.
Matt Duchene has been playing with wingers like Matt Nieto (a recent waiver claim) and Rene Bourque on the second line—and we wonder why he's having a down year?
Yeah, the defense gets a knock by the national media—and rightfully so—but Nikita Zadorov has emerged as a legitimate top-pairing option and Tyson Barrie is still one of the better puck movers in the league. When Erik Johnson isn't breaking his tibia blocking shots, there are good options at the top.
The Avalanche have suffered this year due to having close to zero production from their bottom-six forwards and bottom-three defensemen. (That and atrocious goaltending.)
SCOC: As an Avs fan, what pieces of the Bruins would you most covet in a trade?
MHH: I think they're pointing to the top of any team's prospect list, and for Boston it's pretty clear that's Charlie McAvoy or Brandon Carlo, a forward with middle-six upside and futures.
If you want to know what kind of return Joe Sakic is hoping to net, look no further than the Ryan O'Reilly trade, where they came away with a top defensive prospect (Zadorov), two middle-six upside centers (Mikhail Grigorenko and JT Compher), and the 31st overall pick, which turned into the 39th pick (AJ Greer).
That was the price for a player about to be on an expiring contract, so you can only imagine what they're looking to net for (better) players with term.
SCOC: Are Duchene and Landeskog still the elite players they had been, or are they declining?
MHH: Duchene and Landeskog are absolutely elite players, as evidenced by their selections to Canada and Sweden's Olympic teams and any HERO chart produced the past few years.
The problem is the team they play on is decidedly not elite and it's really affected their counting statistics. Landeskog's declining shot rate is...strange, but one can't help but wonder if it's a role he's being asked to play given the team's struggles.
These aren't the kind of players who hit the market very often. Yes, we saw Taylor Hall move over the summer, but that return is still baffling to any keen hockey observer and I would be very surprised if the Avalanche settled for anything near that level.
SCOC: Put together what you think is the most realistic proposal for a Boston-Colorado trade (for either Landeskog or Duchene).
MHH: Well, again, I think it starts with McAvoy or Carlo (and there are many among our fan base who are skeptical of Carlo since he's been bolted to Chara for much of the season).
In addition, Boston would need to include a middle-six upside forward on an ELC, a player Sakic likes in juniors that's maybe a bit off the radar and a 1st Round pick in next year's draft.
Steep? Sure, but it's the price you pay for these types of players.
SCOC: How likely from 1-10 (10 being most likely) do you think it is that Landeskog gets dealt? Duchene?
MHH: I'm in the camp that thinks the team isn't bent on trading either unless it's a deal they simply can't pass up.
Can it happen? Yeah, but I wouldn't put Landeskog's chances above, say, a "three."
Duchene I'd put a little higher, perhaps at a "five."