Joe Sakic will not deviate from the plan

Adrian Dater Avatar
February 6, 2019

Joe Sakic did an impromptu press conference tonight, with the few select people who bother to cover the Avalanche on a regular basis.

As I wrote three days ago, the main takeaway from the presser was the fact that the Avs’ GM absolutely will not entertain any offers for any of the team’s top existing young prospects – or for any of their upcoming high draft picks. Things may be going real bad for the Avs right now on the ice, but the solution will not be to trade the future for any quick fix.

“What we’re not doing is moving our high picks or prospects,” Sakic said, just prior to the Avs’ game with Columbus. “Those are just players we are not willing to give up.”

That said, it would be a surprise if some kind of deal doesn’t happen by the Feb. 25 NHL trade deadline. The team is in a major tailspin, and Sakic did say that he has had conversations with other teams about potential deals.

Just what kind of deal happens, and how big, will probably come down to this: What will the Avs’ record be on Feb. 24? If the slide continues, he’ll try to sell off as much as he can in players with expiring contracts and/or who he thinks just don’t quite fit into the near future.

“We’ve been talking with teams for the better part of three, four weeks now, to see how we can make our team better,” Sakic said. “We’ve got three weeks to go, and we’ll see where we are at that time. There’s things that we’re going to continue to look at – hockey trades, to get better.”

If I had to lay money on anything “big” happening, I would bet that Tyson Barrie is the guy most likely to be moved. He’s got some term left on his contract, and the Avs have 2017 fourth overall pick Cale Makar on the way. If the Avs are sellers by deadline day, Barrie is a top candidate to move. Otherwise, it would likely be at the draft.

Sakic wouldn’t mention any names he might be dangling, of course. But Barrie makes the most sense.’

“We’re looking at the big picture here, and we love what’s coming,” Sakic said. “It’s a process, and we’re not going to deviate from that plan. But if there’s a player that can help us, that isn’t going to include one of the top prospects, then we’ll look at that. But for us, it’s got to make sense going forward.”

Sakic said he believes the team’s biggest problem in the slide has been their play away from the puck, with guys trying to do too much individually on offense, partially because of playing from behind all the time. That, and not good enough goaltending.

Yet, Sakic said the team still has “two good goalies” and has faith in Semyon Varlamov and Philipp Grubauer.

Sakic also has faith in coach Jared Bednar. You never know for sure what will happen with coaches in the NHL, but when asked if he is satisfied that coaching is not the problem right now, Sakic said:

“The problem is not coaching at all,” Sakic said. “We have good systems. For me, the biggest thing has been the play away from the puck. We’ve been generating chances, and for the most part I’ve liked the way we’ve played – maybe not the last couple games – but we were in a stretch where we were playing real good hockey, but just couldn’t win games. We’ve just got to be more committed without the puck.”

“But we believe in this group and I know the group believes in themselves. We’ve just got to grab a couple wins any way (we) can, get some confidence back and get back to playing the way we’re capable of.”

Here are audio clips from Sakic’s presser:

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