No trades in sight for young Avs team
By Adrian Dater
It’s only January, but already NHL teams are making decisions about whether to buy or sell at the league’s trading deadline. Why now, when the deadline isn’t until March 3?
The Olympic break, of course. From Feb. 12-28, teams will be prohibited from making any trades because of the Olympic Games in Vancouver. That leaves only 10 to 12 regular-season games for teams until the deadline (11 for the Avalanche).
Most trades happen on deadline day, so there remains plenty of time to decide whether to buy or sell. But hockey’s hot stove league is starting earlier because of the Olympic break, and Avalanche fans in particular are wondering what might happen.
Here’s my prediction: not much. You can pretty much forget the Avs making a play for a high-dollar player such as Atlanta’s Ilya Kovalchuk, whom the Thrashers are believed to be shopping.
The Avalanche of old probably would have been in on the Kovalchuk sweepstakes. He fits the profile of the kind of guy Pierre Lacroix would go for — a superstar in the last year of his contract, the possible final piece for a Stanley Cup.
That was then. While Lacroix’s go-for-it-now style produced two Stanley Cups, this Avs team isn’t going to trade top young prospects or first-round draft picks for a rental player.
Would the Avs make the deal if all Atlanta wanted was a first-round pick for Kovalchuk? Yeah, in a heartbeat, but that supposes Thrashers GM Don Waddell loses his mind.
But the Avs will not do something silly like offer Matt Duchene or Ryan O’Reilly as part of any rental-player deal for a big-name player. The modus operandi of the organization, those around the hierarchy have made it known in private conversations, is to stick with the program, which means rebuilding through young prospects and future draft picks. It’s been working so far.