Colorado Avalanche: Breaking Up Core Would Be a Grave Mistake

There is no denying that things are falling apart in Colorado, and Tuesday night’s loss against the Chicago Blackhawks might be the piece of the puzzle that had to fall to set up what we all have been waiting to happen.

Things have to change so that they may get better.

As selfish as it sounds, though, do not blow up this core. They are far too young and talented to break up, even with how bad things have gotten.

Even the ‘old dogs’ of Gabriel Landeskog and Matt Duchene are just 24 and 26 years old, respectively.

Sacrificing one or both of these players in trying to add something else that you need is just going to create a problem where it didn’t exist before.

Goaltending and defense are the top two priorities right now for Joe Sakic to address. There is no way they are not. But giving up Duchene for a defenseman gives up your opportunity to see this.

Maybe Landeskog makes the most sense to move, and it would allow maybe Mikhail Grigorenko to move up to a top-six role but then you wouldn’t get to see goals like this.

The Avalanche may be on a very bad pace when it comes to allowing goals, but they also have done themselves no favors in the offensive production department.

Colorado hasn’t put an emphasis on the defensive position in recent drafts but did select five blueliners during the 2013 Nathan MacKinnon class – including Chris Bigras and Will Butcher.

They have a 21-year old Nikita Zadorov playing top four minutes right now with Erik Johnson out with an injury. Eric Gelinas and Tyson Barrie are 25-years old.

The options may be coming sooner than you think. They just have to take the time to develop defensemen.

Semyon Varlamov and Calvin Pickard have been bad this season, there is no hiding it. Both rate towards the bottom in a lot of goaltending metrics, it has put the Avalanche in a hole that their young offense hasn’t been able to dig out of.

Nothing you can do right now can offset the loss in offensive production you would take in trading either Landeskog or Duchene.

Instead here are things you can do to as opposed to trading off the core.

Waiver Wire Dumpster Bin

Matt Nieto scored his first goal as a member of the Avalanche Tuesday night, he is a perfect example of what they need more of. The league is getting faster, and team’s bottom-sixes are filling out with more skill players than ever before. If a team doesn’t want him anymore, and he can skate, grab him. You can’t say he wouldn’t be at least motivation to the current roster to pick up the pace.

Speed, Speed, Speed

Blake Comeau and Jarome Iginla are good hockey players. Comeau scored Tuesday on a beautiful feed from MacKinnon. But watching Duchene, Mikko Rantanen, Landeskog and MacKinnon play, the first thing that comes to mind is speed.

That may not be the first of three things I think of when talking about Comeau and Iginla. Or Joe Colborne. Put players around your core that fit them. That means more speed.

It goes the same for the defense as well. Speed to get the puck up the ice quicker, out of the defensive zone and away from their goalie. The quicker the better.

Goalies, Defensemen Will Be Had Cheaper Than You Think, Wait Untill The Offseason

Teams are going to have to address the expansion draft at some point, there is no getting around it. Whether it be at the deadline or at the draft, teams may be more inclined to move players and get something back in return as opposed to losing them for nothing to the Vegas franchise.

That could potentially mean you come across a desperate enough team that they would be willing to move a goalie or defenseman for cheaper than the market price.

Be the team with the leverage, not the one being leveraged on. Selling at the tradeline puts you on the short side of the bargaining table. Calling a team that has a goalie they know they are going to lose coming down to the final hour may give him up for a little less just so they can say they got something for him.

It doesn’t show in the standings, but the Avalanche still have one of the better young cores in the league. Breaking them up would be a costly mistake that would hurt what little depth they have up front.

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