10 February 2010
With the Kovalchyk trade last week combined with the Phaneuf trade to Toronto it's abundantly clear that the trade season has begun, and longtime readers of this blog know that if there's anything I enjoy, it's the rosterbation associated with Armchair GMing. Despite contending, the Avs actually have a couple of trade chips that they could, and would like to, move for modest return.
All indications are that the Avs aren't going to make any major moves, but will ultimately make minor moves. I think the philosophy behind any move for the Avs is: 2-3 years. I think that's when current management sees the Cup run window opening. So any move will probably be weighted towards making the Avs better in the next few seasons, not just this year. That said, I don't think they'd be shy trading something small for something that would help this season.
So here I'll look at what the Avs have for other teams.
More after the jump
Marek Svatos: The streaky RW is currently the odd-man out in a position the Avs have a lot of young depth. He'll be an UFA at the end of the season, and with Jones, Stewart, Yip, and Hejduk all being on the roster Svatos really is the odd man out. He's a good player, just doesn't fit well with the Avs. A playoff team that could use some RW depth would be wise to pick him up. (Update: From Elliotte Freeman:
15. The deal with Marek Svatos: He wants out of Colorado. They want him out. He’s a UFA, so he will be highly motivated and relatively cheap. Svatos played for Cory Clouston in junior. I think he wants a reunion.)
Wonder what the guys over at The Sixth Sens or Five for Smiting would want for him?
Scouting report: Svatos is an excellent garbage man. He's good at fighting his way through traffic and banging home rebounds. He's struggled on the Avs, especially this season, because the Avs offense doesn't revolve around point shots, but a team with good scouting will be able to grab him.
Expected return: At one point Svats probably would have been worth a 2nd round pick or a "B" prospect. Svatos has been injured and struggled this season, so the best the Avs can really hope for in return is probably a mid-3rd round pick.
John Michael-Liles: JM-Liles has been the odd-man out in the defensive rotation. With all the healthy scratches lately the writing is on the wall. JM-Liles (a 2nd team Avs all-decade defenseman) will not be on the Avs for another season. It becomes even more apparent when you look at the Avs loaded defensive pipeline, and the fact that Kevin Shattenkirk, currently a defenseman at BU, has all the tools to do what Liles does, only better. Hell in rookie camp last summer, Shattenkirk was easily the best passer on the ice. This makes Liles pretty expendable.
Scouting report: Liles strength is his puck-moving skills on the powerplay. He's an excellent passer, and really can kick start a powerplay when he's being decisive with his passes, as his 8 points in 9 games recently attests. Unfortunately, his defense has undergone a major regression from alst season's improvement. He's been soft on the puck and sometimes he looks lost out there. He'd fit right in in the Eastern Conference.
I was being flippant above, but Liles would be a pretty good pickup for an Eastern Conference team. The 6-11 teams in the East are: Montreal, Tampa, Philly, NY Rangers, Atlanta, Boston. Liles would be a much needed upgrade on any of those backlines, both defensively or offensively. Seriously, Liles is a 2nd pairing guy on Montreal, NY Rangers, and Boston, and the 5th defenseman on anyone but ATL. In the West, he's a healthy scratch.
Expected return: Liles is an interesting case. He's making more than most teams want to pay, but a playoff club might take his salary in return for a salary headache. He's still valuable, so it's really a bizarre case. I think Liles is probably best suited to be traded for a rental to a team that needs players to build on. A team like Carolina makes sense, but Whitney, a guy the Avs could really use, will take more than Liles. I'm not really sure who else the Avs could get for Liles. It'll be interesting.
Brett Clark: Brett Clark could be moved, because he's a depth defenseman who probably will not be re-signed with the Avs next season. He's being paid well more than he's worth, but for a playoff rental club, most of that will have been eaten up by the Avs. The Avs may not want to trade Clark away, but I'd have a hard time believing the Avs are THAT attached to the $3M current 6th defenseman. And, as discussed with Liles above, Clark would be a major upgrade for some Eastern conference clubs looking to get into the playoffs. The Avs have Salei coming back from injury, and his value is a lot lower than Clarks, so it wouldn't be the worst thing to trade Clark away.
Scouting report: Clark is a pretty middle of the road defenseman, with some glaring weaknesses and some solid strengths. He gets into shooting lanes well and is willing to block shots like no other. He can get out of position at times, and almost once every game makes a perplexing awful pass that leads to an opposing scoring chance. He, too, would fit right in in the Eastern Conference, well except that "being in shooting lanes" stuff. Opposing East forwards wouldn't know what to do with that.
Expected return: I actually think Clark has some value here. He's got some attractive stats (shot blocking) and defensive depth is almost always in need at the trade deadline. He's not going to get the 2 1sts we paid for Adam Foote a few years ago, but he could grab a good draft pick, or land a solid LW from a playoff team with an overstock of them (like we have with RWs). I would think a 2nd rounder here isn't out of the question
Peter Budaj: Goaltending depth is something that, normally, is in demand at the trade deadline. Budaj has been a solid backup, will be an UFA, and would probably be looking to try his hand at getting another chance at starting. So it's possible that he could be traded. But if Budaj were traded, the Avs would be short a backup goalie. IT doesn't make much sense to trade him here, so we'll skip the rest.
Ruslan Salei: He's worth next to nothing right now because of his season-long injury, and he's essentially a free acquisition for the Avs. He doesn't have a cannon for a point shot, but it's better than anyone on the team's but Quincey. Also look at the list of UFA Defensemen and see which ones could be available to upgrade the point shot for the Avs. The answer: one of the players who are realistically available have a better shot than Salei, so why would the Avs trade for one? I think Salei will play a key role down the stretch for the Avs.
Adam Foote: He'll be a UFA, and if the Avs weren't contending he might have been traded. But he's the Captain of an extremely young club looking to make the playoffs. He's not going anywhere.
Darcy Tucker: He's worth almost nothing, a washed-up 34 year old getting 4th line minutes isn't a priority for most clubs. Also he's providing leadership for the young forwards, and a home for Ryan O'Reilly. He's not worth what the Avs are paying him, but he's worth a whole lot more to the Avs than he is to other teams. He's staying.
The Avs have a few other RFAs that could potentially be moved (Wolski, Stewart, Yip), but unless it's a blockbuster deal none of them are in any real danger of being moved. All three are an integral part of the current team.
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