Jockeying for first place in the overall standings, the Colorado Avalanche are considered among the prime buyers leading up to the March 21 trade deadline. They made their first move on Monday, acquiring Josh Manson from the Anaheim Ducks.
Trade rumors have tied the Avalanche to Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux, San Jose Sharks center Tomas Hertl and Winnipeg Jets center Andrew Copp, However, Cap Friendly shows them with just $1.5 million in projected accrued salary-cap space for deadline day.
With winger Gabriel Landeskog and defenseman Samuel Girard sidelined by injuries, general manager Joe Sakic could gain some salary-cap wiggle room by placing them on long-term injury reserve. Landeskog carries a $7-million annual cap hit while Girard's is $5 million. Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman recently speculated the Avs could use that flexibility to do something before the deadline.
The Athletic's Peter Baugh examined how both players going on LTIR would allow Sakic to use their combined $12 million to exceed the cap. It would alleviate any potential cap concerns to pursue someone like Giroux or Hertl should they become available in the trade market.
That scenario only works if both players are out for the remainder of the season. Otherwise, the Avs would have to be cap compliant if they return before season's end. Girard is expected to be back in four weeks while Landeskog's timetable following Monday's knee surgery remains to be determined.
Baugh also suggested putting Landeskog on LTIR if he's not ready to return until early May as the playoffs are underway by then and the salary cap won't be an issue. It would give Sakic the opportunity to exceed the cap by almost the equivalent of Landeskog's cap hit to add an impact player.