The Colorado Avalanche have approached this year’s trade deadline season with caution, primarily due to their lack of salary cap space and the uncertainty over the health of captain Gabriel Landeskog and defenceman Erik Johnson.
Landeskog has been recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery in October and the timeline to a return has been pushed back. Johnson recently broke his ankle and might be done for the rest of the regular-season.
Avalanche GM Chris MacFarland spoke with the media on Monday and indicated the team should have a clearer picture on both of their projected returns this week. He noted getting that information will help him navigate the next few days leading up to Friday’s 3pm ET deadline.
“Yes, we’ll have those discussions and we’ll be able to gauge whether one of both of them are in that situation,” he said.
With so much activity already across the NHL and multiple big trades made, MacFarland doesn’t seem concerned that he hasn’t entered the mix yet. He did, however, add depth to his roster by adding defenceman Jack Johnson from the Chicago Blackhawks and goalie Keith Kinkaid from the Boston Bruins.
The Avalanche do not have lot of wiggle room with the salary cap, but if Johnson is out for the rest of the regular-season, it will give the team options over these next few days.
“If there’s something that makes sense, whether it’s forward, a (defenseman), we’ll look at it from multiple lenses as we always do,” MacFarland explained. “First and foremost, from the player’s perspective, does it make us better? The cap, and that sort of thing.”
The Avs have been rumoured to be exploring the market for a second line centre, but MacFarland said he’s comfortable with J.T. Compher and others that can slot into that role. Still, if the right deal comes into play, he will consider it.
Kevin Hayes of the Philadelphia Flyers and Adam Henrique of the Anaheim Ducks are two trade candidates that could also fit into the second line. Both players rank on the TFP Trade Watch List.
MacFarland also acknowledged that he isn’t against moving his first-round draft pick in the right deal. The Avalanche do not have their second-round and third-round draft picks in this summer’s draft or the 2024 NHL Draft.
“First round picks are obviously high-octane assets so you want to be careful with them,” he said. “But if it makes sense, it makes sense. I think that’s the best way to look at it. You’ve seen some of the deals here recently that have happened and the players that we acquired using that time of an asset. They are big assets this time of year. We’ve used some draft capital in the past as you all know and pushed our chips into the middle last year in terms of picks and prospects so it’s something that we talk about. But again, if it makes sense then we will look to improve the team.”
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