The Colorado Avalanche finally broke the stalemate and dealt forward Matt Duchene to the Ottawa Senators in a complicated three-way trade that also saw forward Kyle Turris head to the Nashville Predators. In exchange for relinquishing the rights to Duchene, the Avalanche received a whole bundle of assets. They are:
Forward Shane Bowers, 28th overall pick in 2017
Forward Vladislav Kamenev, 42nd overall pick in 2014
Defenseman Samuel Girard, 47th overall pick in 2016
Goaltender Andrew Hammond, awesome nicknamed "The Hamburglar"
Ottawa's 1st round selection in 2018 (top-10 protected)
Ottawa's 3rd round selection in 2019
Nashville's 2nd round selection in 2018
That's seven assets headed to Colorado in exchange for just giving up Matt Duchene. Who are all of these players? Let's take a look:
To begin with, click here to see our draft profile of Bowers. Given he was just drafted this past June, not too much has changed about him since then. Bowers is a big, physical center who plays a hard-nosed two-way game and excels at doing all of the little things very well. At 6'2", 185 pounds, he's committed to playing a 200-foot game and profiles as a very good depth center down the road.
As written in his draft profile, his offensive upside is a legitimate question mark as his production has never been outstanding. That said, he's off to a promising start in his freshman year at Boston University where he's scored six points (4 g, 2 a) in 10 games played. Given his dedication to the defensive side of the game, his offensive profile is his biggest limiting factor as he moves forward through college hockey and eventually into the pro ranks.
As of today, with Colorado's obscene center depth even without Duchene, Bowers still slots in as the likely long-term third center behind Nathan MacKinnon and either Tyson Jost or J.T. Compher, depending on which player the Avalanche settle on as the center between the two.
Should he move to the wall, he would give the Avalanche something they sorely lack - a defensively responsible winger who with some offensive punch. The timeline on Bowers really depends on his adjustment to pro hockey but it's reasonable to expect him to play for the Terriers for at least two seasons before jumping to pro hockey, making his likeliest NHL debut in 2020. Of all the prospects Colorado acquired, Bowers will most likely have the longest timeline until his Avalanche debut.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Kamenev is the oldest of the prospects Colorado received and he just turned 21 this past August. Kamenev profiles as a left wing for the Avalanche organization and is coming off an impressive 51-point (21 g, 30 a) season in 70 games played for the AHL's Milwaukee Admirals last season. This season, he's bumped his production up and as of this writing has produced eight points (3 g, 5 a) in nine games played.
Another strong two-way player, Kamenev has good size at 6'2", 185 pounds and uses it well with a very fluid skating motion. While he's not breathtakingly fast, Kamenev is an efficient and sound skater who will not struggle to keep up in Colorado's desired up-tempo playstyle. While he has great hands and significant puck skills, he isn't a very natural goal scorer and likely will be more of a playmaking type for the Avalanche.
Kamenev doesn't have too much depth in front of him in Colorado right now as Gabriel Landeskog is the only sure-fire left wing the Avalanche have in their top six and while youngsters like A.J. Greer and Alexander Kerfoot are trying to prove their worth for playing time and Sven Andrighetto is still making his case to be a full-time NHL player.
The likely debut for Kamenev in Colorado is as early as this season and given their current injury issues, maybe as early as when the team returns from Sweden.
As the only defenseman in the deal, more pressure will be on Girard than the others because of the dire need for the Avalanche to improve their blue line. Girard, 19, is an undersized defenseman, something that will certainly make Avalanche fans roll their eyes, at just 5'10", 161 pounds. His size is very likely the only reason he was not a mid-first round selection in 2016 as his actual on-ice ability is significant. For some more depth on Girard, be sure to check out our draft profile on him here.
Girard, first and foremost, is known for his ability to move the puck, as shown by his impressive point totals all through juniors. Last year, his final in the QMJHL, Girard recorded a noteworthy 75 points (9g, 66a) in just 59 games played. He made his NHL debut this season for the Predators and recorded three points (1g, 2a) in five games played before the trade.
Girard is likely going to be viewed as one of the centerpieces of this trade, along with Bowers and the player the Avalanche use the first round selection on, and as a defenseman, he will be facing the brightest spotlight. Colorado's defense has been a weak point for years and it was telling that on a team full of good-to-great defenseman, Girard was the man Nashville turned to when injuries struck this season and he did very well for himself.
The question for Girard becomes how quickly the Avalanche want to move with Girard. Colorado is already committed to youth and Girard has already shown he can play in the NHL, albeit in a small sample of just five games. If Girard is a better option than some of the players already on Colorado's blue line, they could easily put him in the NHL lineup and begin seeing immediate returns on a trade designed to maximize returns in about 2020 (Ed.'s note: Colorado has committed to playing Girard next week in Sweden).
The "Hamburglar" stole the NHL spotlight a few years ago as part of an incredible Ottawa run to the playoffs with Hammond in net. Since that insane run, Hammond, 29, has returned to earth and proven himself nothing more than a journeyman goaltender who happens to be grossly overpaid.
Hammond is in the final year of a three-year contract that has his AAV placed at $1.35M. He will be a UFA after this season and his role with the Avalanche will be the same as it was in Ottawa - hang out in the AHL and make a whole bunch of money.
Given the complicated situation in San Antonio with the split affiliation between Colorado and St. Louis this year, it's unclear exactly where Hammond will fit in and who he will play for. The Rampage already have two young goaltenders in Spencer Martin (COL) and Ville Husso (STL) and each organization wants to see their guy in net on a regular basis. The addition of Hammond muddies these waters for the time being and it wouldn't be surprised to see either Hammond or Husso ultimately loaned out to another AHL team in need of some goaltending help.
Hammond is unlikely to play for the Avalanche until an injury to either Semyon Varlamov or Jonathan Bernier takes place. His place in this trade is primarily as a salary cap dump and Colorado's agreeing to take him on might have netted them the third-round selection in 2019, a year in which they are already down a fourth-round pick after their July 1 trade for forward Colin Wilson.
While the identity of the players the Avalanche will choose with these selections is obviously still unknown, it is a reasonable expectation that both Ottawa and Nashville are either playoff-bound or certainly will be in strong contention for the postseason. Given where they finish will ultimately determine where those picks land but it's reasonable to expect Colorado to receive a selection in the 20s from Ottawa and in the 50s from Nashville.
Regardless, the Avalanche did well to stock their table with draft capital they have sorely lacked in previous years. After today's trade, the Avalanche currently have five selections in the first three rounds of the 2018 NHL Draft, one that is widely regarded as a stronger year than 2017.
How did Colorado do?
The bottom line is the Avalanche got worse today. There's no disputing they gave up the most established player (I'm ignoring the Turris part of the deal because it's irrelevant to Colorado's interests) but they received an eye-popping seven assets in return. While Hammond is simply a throw-in, the other six assets have an opportunity to add up to something significant.
Colorado did not land a true blue-chip prospect but came very close with Girard and Bowers is certainly no slouch here. There's a ton to like what Colorado did and even though one of the selections is in 2019, it helps make up for the asset they moved in exchange for Wilson.
The ultimate mixture of known talent (the prospects they've scouted plenty) and draft picks is a legitimate coup for the Avalanche and they have to feel great about their future. The NHL team is already extremely young and exceeding expectations early this season, the AHL team is off to a hot start, and Colorado just added a whole bunch of quality pieces to its farm system. In a year all about development, it's hard to believe the Avalanche could have done too much better than they did today while understanding they gave up their probably second-best forward.