Following the Colorado Avalanche's disappointing second-round exit from the 2021 playoffs, The Denver Post's Mike Chambers, Mark Kiszla and Ryan O'Hallaron mused over whether Samuel Girard would become a trade candidate. Fast-forward to November and Chambers is again pondering the 23-year-old defenseman's value in the NHL trade market.
Chambers suggested rookie defenseman Bowen Byram's strong performance this season might explain why the Avalanche were believed among the suitors for Jack Eichel. He observed Jack Eichel telling Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman he believed at one point he was heading to Colorado before the Buffalo Sabres shipped him last week to the Vegas Golden Knights.
With the 20-year-old Byram playing well and Devon Toews recently returning from offseason shoulder surgery, Chambers theorized the Avs might've been tempted to offer up Girard in a trade package to the Sabres. With Eichel finally off the market, Chambers speculated Girard could remain a trade chip if the Avs decide to pursue an elite scorer or goaltender.
A skillful if somewhat undersized puck-moving defenseman, the 5'10”, 170-pound Girard tallied 32-plus points in each of the last two seasons while logging over 21 minutes of ice time per game. Cap Friendly shows him carrying an annual salary-cap hit of $5 million through 2026-27, lacking no-trade protection until 2024-25.
If the 6-foot, 195-pound Byram continues playing well and Toews quickly regains his form, perhaps the Avalanche will test Girard's value in the trade market if they cannot shake off their early-season scoring funk. There could be clubs seeking a mobile young blueliner with offensive skills at some point before the March 21 trade deadline.