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Avs Weekly Mailbag: Trade Deadline Thoughts

Evan Rawal Avatar
February 18, 2020

Welcome to the weekly Avs mailbag, where we answer whatever Avs questions you have on your mind. If you have any questions for the mailbag, leave them for Evan Rawal on twitter or respond in the comments.

I was not so sure that the injuries were going to change his direction all that much…until last night. The Mikko Rantanen injury changes the picture quite a bit. He was starting to really crank it up and look like the Mikko we all have come to expect, but now the Avs are down two top-six forwards for several weeks, and guys like Donskoi and Compher are not doing a whole lot offensively to help pick up the slack.

Sakic has always been a patient guy, and I don’t think he’s just going to toss away good assets like Byram, Timmins, Bowers, Kaut, etc. for rental players. My thought all along is that if the Avs are going to do something, they need to go big or not do anything at all. What good does trading a third or fourth-round pick for a bottom-six guy really do at this point? The Avs have guys they can try in that bottom-six role in Shane Bowers and Martin Kaut (who was just recalled). We saw them target Brassard last year and he provided a whole lot of nothing to the lineup down the stretch and into the playoffs.

Joonas Donskoi always felt like he was going to hit that wall after a red hot start, because that’s what he’s always done in his career, and he’s hit that wall hard. He has just three points in his last 23 games, and only one of them is a goal. This is a guy who went 39 (!) games without a goal at one point last season before scoring on, predictably, the Avs in the playoffs. Another top-six forward is necessary.

The preference would be someone that can drive play because without Kadri and Rantanen, the Avs sure need it. I argued for Nikolaj Ehlers on the podcast, and while I was giving up a good package for him (2020 1st, Timmins, and Tyson Jost), this is a guy who fits in with the core age of the team and would be around for a long time. He’s also a proven play driver.

I’m not trading any of these young prospects or first-round picks for rentals, but if you have a chance to get a top-six player with some term on their contract, I think it’s something you should look at.

I have to fully admit that I have not seen this movie in around 20 years, but my recollection of Drago is that he was huge and intimidating. I look at both Zadorov and Jokic as having too much of a goofy side to pull it off.

The only answer here is Valeri Nichushkin. That man is intimidating, not only in terms of how massive he is, but the fact that he doesn’t say much either. It adds more intrigue to everything. I think he’s the answer to this one.

Inevitably the Drouin conversation comes up every year because of his history with Nathan MacKinnon. I didn’t see Habs GM Marc Bergevin at the game last night myself, but sat right above their assistant GM Scott Mellanby. The Habs have a local scout who is always at the games, so for them to send the big guns in maybe says the two teams have had some conversations. It’s tough to say if it’s about Drouin, or guys like Petry, Tatar, and Kovalchuk, but of the four, Drouin would fit in best while also costing the most.

Perhaps the most valuable thing about Drouin is his contract. He hasn’t developed the way I think most would have expected him too, but at 5.5M for three more years, he brings cost-controlled value. I’m not the best at coming up with trades, but Nikita Zadorov’s name has always come up when talking about the Habs. There’s no way he’s enough to get it done, but I could see him being part of the package. If you toss in the first round pick, does that get it done? I really don’t think I would give up a Timmins for Drouin, whereas I would for Ehlers because he’s been proven to do it year over year for a while now.

And who knows? Maybe Drouin is the guy and he comes back to the Avs and has that instant chemistry he did with MacKinnon many years ago. I have my doubts it would click like that, but that would be Patrick Roy’s dream realized years later.

The trade deadline fun has already begun. New Jersey has already dealt away two guys, and I think they’ve got some more guys they may look to deal in Palmieri and Wayne Simmonds. Another team everyone expects to be busy is the Rangers. We’re not just looking at Chris Kreider here, but I think Pavel Buchnevich could be on the move as well, as he and the coach never seem to be on the same page.

I think a low-key team to watch will be Florida. They’re teetering on the edge of the playoffs, and have some good pending UFA’s in Dadonov and Hoffman to dangle out on the trade market. That could be a chance for them to pick up some help elsewhere, as they have no problem scoring whatsoever.

Other than that, I honestly think it could be a pretty boring deadline. I would love to see a bunch of trades but it never seems to come to fruition, much to the dismay of James Duthie and the TSN crew.

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