As the losses mount for the floundering Colorado Avalanche, so does the trade speculation. Having dropped four straight games and nine of their last 10 entering Wednesday's match-up against the Calgary Flames, there's growing speculation GM Joe Sakic could make a significant move.
TSN's Bob McKenzie told Vancouver's TSN 1040 he thinks something's got to give at some point, most likely a trade. While he doesn't know which player could be dealt, he believes management is considering all their options.
Much of the trade chatter is focused upon forwards Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog. McKenzie's colleague Darren Dreger told Montreal's TSN 690 that, prior to last season's draft lottery, Sakic chatted with another Western Conference GM regarding a possible swap of Landeskog for a defenseman. However, nothing came of that conversation.
CSNNE.com's Joe Haggerty believes Landeskog would make an “intriguing power forward winger-type possibility” for the Boston Bruins. He speculates Sakic's asking price would include rookie defenseman (and Colorado Springs, Col., native) Brandon Carlo, which could be a deal breaker for the Bruins.
Dreger thinks Sakic is more inclined to move Duchene than Landeskog. For the right offer of prospects or draft picks, he doesn't rule out the possibility of the 25-year-old center being dealt by the March 1 trade deadline.
Le Journal de Montreal's Yvon Pedneault speculates the Montreal Canadiens could make the Avs a trade target. GM Marc Bergevin is on the lookout for depth on defense and at center. If Duchene's available, Bergevin could make inquiries.
Teams pursuing Duchene must be prepared to pay a high price. Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman reports the Avs seek “legit young defencemen or defensive prospects.” He also said center Nathan MacKinnon and promising right winger Mikko Rantanen aren't available.
Duchene's contract is also a sticking point. He's signed through 2018-19 at an annual cap hit of $6 million. Though his skills will make him attractive in the trade market, that contact is difficult to move in-season. It'll have to be a dollar-for-dollar swap or Sakic agrees to retain part of Duchene's cap hit.
If the asking price is a good young blueliner or defensive prospects, there are not many clubs that can afford it. Only the Carolina Hurricanes carry sufficient cap space (over $15 million) and depth in young blueliners to tempt Sakic. Though the Hurricanes lack an established scorer, GM Ron Francis hasn't given any indication he's looking to peddle any of his good young defensemen for a scoring forward.
The Avs' aging right winger Jarome Iginla won't have as much trade value as Duchene or Landeskog, but the pending unrestricted free agent could also be on the move by March 1. Bleacher Report's Adrian Dater took to Twitter claiming the Chicago Blackhawks are considering the 39-year-old Iginla as a depth acquisition in case of injuries in the playoffs.
Iginla carries a no-movement clause. However, he told Wes Gilbertson of the Calgary Sun he'd consider waiving it if asked to accept a trade to a playoff club.
Rumor Roundup appears regularly only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and The Guardian (P.E.I.).
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