Trade Deadline, Fourth Line Center and more

The time has come for my first Colorado Avalanche mailbag with Colorado Hockey Now.

After a really tough run for a while, the Avalanche have hit their stride and are back in the playoff hunt. Time to check in with readers and see what questions they have about the team.

From Dude Where’s Makar: Who Are Some Realistic Trade Deadline Targets?

This is something I really plan to dig into over the All-Star break. For a while after Christmas, it looked like the trade deadline might be an entirely different discussion. Now that the team is winning, getting healthier and climbing the standings, we’re back to looking at who the team can add as opposed to selling someone.

Without naming any specific players, I think there are two areas they need to address: the bottom six up front and depth in defence. The Avalanche haven’t gotten any production from calls at forward. With Darren Helm’s season potentially over, an addition to the bottom six looks necessary.

Contending teams always want to add defense at the deadline. They won’t have the ammunition (or the need) to sign another Josh Manson, but a 7th or 8th defenseman is doable. The return of Manson and Bowen Byram will help, but those two have an injury history, so another option would be nice.

I know second line center is the big topic of discussion, but will the Avalanche have enough assets to trade up to get one? It’s something I’m going to really dig into here in the coming weeks. Is a Sean Monahan really an upgrade over what they have? An interesting name people have thrown at me is Boone Jenner. It’s one that makes sense if Columbus is willing to move him.

From Taylor Dafoe: Of all the Avs’ calls and waiver claims this year, who is your MVP? Most disappointing?

Well, MVP is definitely not a forward because they got next to nothing out of them.

The call-up MVP has pretty clearly been Brad Hunt. Jacob MacDonald has struggled this season and Hunt has kind of filled that role. Plus, without Byram and Manson around, he’s added some offense. The Avalanche are built around defense, so that has been crucial.

Honorable mention to Jean-Luc Foudy because he gave hope for the future with his acting.

Most disappointing? Probably Martin Kaut. It’s not because he was bad, but more that he didn’t take the bull by the horns. 27 games is a lot for a call-up, so you can’t say he didn’t get his shot. You just want more when you see him.

From JD Schick: I’ve seen a lot of talk about bringing in a 7th D like Jack Johnson. Doesn’t it seem like Englund has done enough to fill that role?

I’ve liked Englund and he’s shown improvement, but if you want to contend, you need a better seventh defenseman. Realistically, he’s probably further down the depth chart when this team is healthy. I’m not sure Jack Johnson is a guy I’d target, but I could see it. You know him, but at the same time he is a year older. I feel like you could do better. Johnson’s appeal is that it should cost almost nothing to acquire him.

From ParoxiWife: Why have game puck videos from avsmin gone astray? Any good ones to report?

I understand, the person responsible for the Avalanche twitter moved on, so someone else is running it. They also try to change the content from year to year. Unfortunately, media is not allowed in the room when something like this goes down, so we don’t know who gets what after games.

From Blake Wheeler: What do the Avs do on the TDL if they don’t get Landy back this season?

For me, this is the ultimate question. If I were the GM, I’m not selling any major assets for rentals unless I’m 100% sure Gabriel Landeskog will be back this season.

Is it possible that this team can win the cup without Landeskog? Yes, that is possible. The Western Conference really isn’t that impressive, and without Landeskog, the Avalanche still have a good roster. Would I bet on it? I don’t think I would.

Landeskog does so much for this team, both on and off the ice, that it would be very difficult to win four rounds without him. Just look at how good he was in the playoffs on just one leg.

But that’s just my opinion. As a GM, it can be hard not to go all-in when you have superstars like MacKinnon, Makar and Rantanen in the prime of their careers. I certainly hope Landeskog comes back because no other team could touch that addition at or around the deadline.

From Snydone: Anton Blidh went on waivers yesterday and will suit up again for the Avs tonight. Assuming they knew he wasn’t going to be claimed, what benefit do the Avs get by doing this?

It’s really just about roster flexibility. Blidh had to clear waivers to be sent down, so you try to sneak him through waivers before the All-Star break. A team probably isn’t going to sign him to just sit and get paid NHL money during the offseason. Now he has another 30 days where you can send him to the AHL without having to worry about waivers. Guys like Malgin, Manson, and Byram are coming back in that time frame.

From Glen: If the outlook for Helm is that he could be done for the season, are the Avs trying to get a 4C or are they happy with Meyers. If they try to add someone to the bottom 6, who do you see as a good fit?

The Avalanche like Meyers, but that won’t stop them from adding depth. You like a guy, but you also have to be realistic and see that there is a way to upgrade it. They saw how valuable having a good fourth line was in the playoffs last year. They’ve barely had a playable fourth line this season, so there’s no doubt in my mind they’ll be looking to upgrade. With Helm’s health in doubt, they may even need two strikers.

From Coach Prime is Coming!: What’s your favorite Always Sunny episode?

I’m sneaking this one at the bottom because it’s not avalanche related. For the longest time I felt it was “The Band Wrestles for the Troops”, but lately I’ve changed my mind. It’s “The gang is desperately trying to win a prize”.

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