Latest on the Avalanche and Jets – December 17, 2016
Check out the latest speculation on the Colorado Avalanche and Winnipeg Jets.
FANRAG: Chris Nichols provides a recent summary of this week’s trade speculation from NHL insiders Elliotte Friedman and Darren Dreger regarding the Colorado Avalanche.
Speaking with NHL Network on Wednesday, Friedman said the Avs could accommodate veteran winger Jarome Iginla if he decides to waive his no-trade clause if there’s a wiling buyer for his services. He also casts some doubt on any talk of the Avs blowing up their roster, noting they have $17 million coming off their books at season’s end. That will free up room next summer to pursue one or two defensemen.
Appearing on TSN 1290 on Wednesday, Dreger noted how quiet things were leading up to the holiday trade freeze (Dec. 19-27). Among several topics, he addressed the Avs recent struggles. “There’s a lot that’s going to develop there from a speculative standpoint and there’s some big names that are going to be circled,” said Dreger. He noted Matt Duchene’s name has surfaced from time to time and Gabriel Landeskog’s surfaced briefly last summer. He feels GM Joe Sakic “is soon going to be willing to consider just about anything.”
ESPN.COM: Matthew Coller recently suggested the Avs considering moving Duchene or Landeskog, either to stockpile first-round picks and prospects to rebuild around Nathan MacKinnon or moving one of them for either a top-four defenseman or a replacement for departed two-way center Ryan O’Reilly. Coller also thinks an argument can be made for moving MacKinnon, as he’s probably more valuable than Duchene or Landeskog.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A couple of weeks ago, Sakic was preaching patience with his core players. That patience, however, could be getting tested. If Sakic goes the route Friedman indicated, he won’t find much help via free agency, as the pickings for defensemen are decidedly slim. The best available blueliner is Kevin Shattenkirk, and I doubt he’s keen on returning to the Avs. To land a top-four defenseman could mean shopping Duchene or Landeskog next summer.
EDMONTON SUN: Jim Matheson reports young Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck doesn’t look like a 60-game starter yet. He advocates landing an established goalie with only a few seasons left on his contract before the expansion draft, such as Detroit’s Jimmy Howard, Tampa Bay’s Ben Bishop or Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury, and let Hellebuyck take on a backup role.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hellebuyck has potential, but he needs to share the duties with an experienced veteran who can act as a mentor. The Jets risk hampering his development. Their goaltending currently ranks among the league’s worst this season, so this is something they must address in the near future.
Landing Howard or Fleury, however, could be difficult if they’re not on their list of preferred trade destinations. Bishop’s a UFA in July and will likely cost far more than the Jets can afford to entice him to Winnipeg.