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Just My Take: Avs should trade Nathan MacKinnon

John Reidy Avatar
February 17, 2017


Would it be the worst thing in the world if the Avs traded Nathan MacKinnon?

If you just fainted and fell back in your chair, I apologize.

The Avs are rumored to be trying to move Matt Duchene and Gabe Landeskog. That’s fine. But the asking price is reportedly very high, which is also fine. Joe Sakic should be asking for the moon because right now the Avs are heading for the sun and will burn up on impact if he doesn’t change something with this team soon.

And if no one wants to give Sakic what he wants for one or both of those players? No need to do it. They are arguably two of the team’s best players and coughing them up for nothing short of a blockbuster would just put them right back where they are – swirling the drain.

You’ve watched how this team has played this season. Is moving Matt Duchene going to significantly improve the Avs? It depends  on what they get back obviously but what you’re left with seems like it could be worse. They should have moved Landeskog last season when his value was higher. But after this dismal season, NHL general managers are looking towards the Avs for that bargain bin price.

That’s why I think the Avs top brass should look into moving MacKinnon.

Again, sorry if you just took a big sip of coffee.

No, really.

MacKinnon is a hell of a player. And he’s young. But if you watch him play, I’m not convinced he’s the all-world superstar everyone makes him out to be. Look at what Connor McDavid has done for the Oilers. Edmonton would be terrible without him. Ok, terrible-er but you get the point. McDavid has shown he’s a game changer, just like Sidney Crosby before him. These types of players transform a franchise.

MacKinnon hasn’t done that. And I don’t think he will. Not on the Avs anyway. His game hasn’t exploded like an overall first selection should. It still might – he’s exciting to watch. But it’s not happening on the Avs. And shipping off Duchene/Landeskog and letting the youngster run the show will place the team right back on the diaper pile mainly because a player like MacKinnon will have even less to work with once those guys are gone.

The solution to fixing the Avs? Trade MacKinnon.

Take what everyone perceives as the number on asset and move it because it is doing a bad team no good. He’s Adrian Peterson winning rushing titles on pathetic Vikings teams. He’s Troy Tulowitzki flashing a golden glove on woeful Rockies teams.

The Rockies wouldn’t trade Tulowitzki for the longest time because they were hanging their hat on his talent and his ability to put a face to the franchise. But even with how good Tulo was, he wasn’t going to make the Rockies better by finishing his career in Denver. The only way he made the Rockies better, was to be traded. Luckily for the Rockies, they got out from underneath Tulo before it was too late. It was not a popular move, but it was the right one. MacKinnon will end up like Tulo: a wildly talented player who’s completely wasting away on a bad team that won’t get any better if he’s the centerpiece.

No one wants to give up an asset like MacKinnon but if you think about what’s available to the Avs for the players they are actually dangling, it’s simply not worth it. The only piece anyone wants and will pay through the nose for is Nathan MacKinnon.

Think of the king’s ransom Sakic could get for him. That haul would be substantial and would make a rebuild a mere formality. Simply because they would still have two established players in Duchene/Landeskog and whatever juicy assets that would be joining them. Couple that with Tyson Barrie, Erik Johnson and the influx of young talent coming up from the minors, MacKinnon is expendable.

Sakic has been greeted with a brick wall so far in his high demands for either Duchene of Landeskog. But if  MacKinnon was suddenly on the table, he may get an over excited GM to cough up the farm for him. This would be a sure fire way to start over and be right back in the NHL mix sooner, rather than later.

Front offices generally can’t fathom trading away a perceived superstar because of what the fanbase will think. Trading MacKinnon won’t be popular but if they are going to trade anyone to make a genuine improvement, it should be him.

Send me the dry cleaning bill for the coffee I made you spit.

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