The Colorado Avalanche have been pretty quiet this summer for the most part, outside of their selection of Nathan MacKinnon as the no. 1 overall pick in last month’s draft. Regardless of whether or not it was the right pick, it does create a logjam in the middle for the Avs.
With MacKinnon now in the mix, the Avalanche have the likes of Matt Duchene, Paul Stastny, and Ryan O’Reilly all in the middle, in addition to the rookie, who will very likely start the season with the club. That’s a lot of offensive talent to fit into two or three spots.
Which means that one of them could still be dealt. Duchene likely isn’t going to be that guy, especially coming off as solid a season as he had and possessing the upside that he does. O’Reilly can’t be dealt until February, one year after signing his new contract as a restricted free agent.
Stastny is likely the only one of the group that the Avalanche would likely be comfortable trading, assuming it brought about the return that they’d like. He has one year remaining on his deal, with a pretty massive cap hit, at $6.6 million. Which the Avs can afford, but it makes sense to move him when you can get value back, instead of him walking in free agency.
He’s coming off of a couple of disappointing seasons, as far as his offensive output is concerned. At least in terms of Stastny’s standards. But he’s still a top line or a no. 2 center, capable of putting in 20 goals and 50 or so helpers. He’s also a guy who can go out and win at least half of his draws. Plenty of value in a guy like that.
A destination isn’t entirely clear, but moving him for a defenseman would be the best approach for the Avalanche. There was talk of a Dion Phaneuf/Stastny swap earlier in the summer, but we don’t know if Toronto is still looking to upgrade in the middle. Either way, the Avalanche would be smart to deal Stastny this summer, as it would allow them to upgrade their blue line significantly and be much more competitive in 2013-14.