Would it be the worst thing in the world if the Avs traded Nathan MacKinnon?

If you just fainted and fell back in your chair, I apologize.

The Avs are rumored to be trying to move Matt Duchene and Gabe Landeskog. That’s fine. But the asking price is reportedly very high, which is also fine. Joe Sakic should be asking for the moon because right now the Avs are heading for the sun and will burn up on impact if he doesn’t change something with this team soon.

And if no one wants to give Sakic what he wants for one or both of those players? No need to do it. They are arguably two of the team’s best players and coughing them up for nothing short of a blockbuster would just put them right back where they are – swirling the drain.

You’ve watched how this team has played this season. Is moving Matt Duchene going to significantly improve the Avs? It depends  on what they get back obviously but what you’re left with seems like it could be worse. They should have moved Landeskog last season when his value was higher. But after this dismal season, NHL general managers are looking towards the Avs for that bargain bin price.

That’s why I think the Avs top brass should look into moving MacKinnon.

Again, sorry if you just took a big sip of coffee.

No, really.

MacKinnon is a hell of a player. And he’s young. But if you watch him play, I’m not convinced he’s the all-world superstar everyone makes him out to be. Look at what Connor McDavid has done for the Oilers. Edmonton would be terrible without him. Ok, terrible-er but you get the point. McDavid has shown he’s a game changer, just like Sidney Crosby before him. These types of players transform a franchise.

MacKinnon hasn’t done that. And I don’t think he will. Not on the Avs anyway. His game hasn’t exploded like an overall first selection should. It still might – he’s exciting to watch. But it’s not happening on the Avs. And shipping off Duchene/Landeskog and letting the youngster run the show will place the team right back on the diaper pile mainly because a player like MacKinnon will have even less to work with once those guys are gone.

The solution to fixing the Avs? Trade MacKinnon.

Take what everyone perceives as the number on asset and move it because it is doing a bad team no good. He’s Adrian Peterson winning rushing titles on pathetic Vikings teams. He’s Troy Tulowitzki flashing a golden glove on woeful Rockies teams.

The Rockies wouldn’t trade Tulowitzki for the longest time because they were hanging their hat on his talent and his ability to put a face to the franchise. But even with how good Tulo was, he wasn’t going to make the Rockies better by finishing his career in Denver. The only way he made the Rockies better, was to be traded. Luckily for the Rockies, they got out from underneath Tulo before it was too late. It was not a popular move, but it was the right one. MacKinnon will end up like Tulo: a wildly talented player who’s completely wasting away on a bad team that won’t get any better if he’s the centerpiece.

No one wants to give up an asset like MacKinnon but if you think about what’s available to the Avs for the players they are actually dangling, it’s simply not worth it. The only piece anyone wants and will pay through the nose for is Nathan MacKinnon.

Think of the king’s ransom Sakic could get for him. That haul would be substantial and would make a rebuild a mere formality. Simply because they would still have two established players in Duchene/Landeskog and whatever juicy assets that would be joining them. Couple that with Tyson Barrie, Erik Johnson and the influx of young talent coming up from the minors, MacKinnon is expendable.

Sakic has been greeted with a brick wall so far in his high demands for either Duchene of Landeskog. But if  MacKinnon was suddenly on the table, he may get an over excited GM to cough up the farm for him. This would be a sure fire way to start over and be right back in the NHL mix sooner, rather than later.

Front offices generally can’t fathom trading away a perceived superstar because of what the fanbase will think. Trading MacKinnon won’t be popular but if they are going to trade anyone to make a genuine improvement, it should be him.

Send me the dry cleaning bill for the coffee I made you spit.

John Reidy

John Reidy has lived in Denver most of his life and had a religious conversion to being a Denver sports fan when the Broncos lost Super Bowl XXIV. And he’s been on that sad, slow train ever since. He is a founding member of SouthStandsDenver.com, coined the term “fanalyst” and has learned to not swear as much in his writing.

  • Blackboard Warrior

    I’ll never understand this logic: This team is a historically bad team, how will trading their best players away make them better?

    Sure, MacK hasn’t lived up to his potential, but he’s one of the few Avs who looks like he’s at all interested in playing hockey. I think we should be dumping Mitchell, Tyutin, Soderberg, Martinsen, etc. and bringing up some of the great talents we keep hearing about in San Antonio.

  • Ahmed Asif

    As much as I would like say this is a bad idea the way the team is playing…there are not bad ideas. Trading the whole roster would most likely get us better…but that’s not feasible. I love the talent we have on our team but Sakic nailed it when he said the Avs need to younger. After the first season with Avs Sakic/Roy felt they needed more veteran presence, so they got Iginla/Tanguay/Briere/Stuart. That’s when things got wrong

    MacKinnon/Duchene/Landeskog
    Rantannen/Nico or Nolan/Grigerenko
    Nieto/Soderberg/AJ Greer
    JT Compher/Colborne/Free Agent

    Extra Tyson Jost

    Johnson/Zadorov
    Beauch/Kulikov (UFA)
    Siemens/Barrie

    Barberio/Chris Bigras

  • Nord2Av

    Good article but definitely don’t agree. Comparing Mack to Crosby and Mcdavid isn’t fair he isn’t and never was supposed to be those guys he was the best player in the draft that year but he’s no Mcdavid. Mack will be a star and will have some big years but he needs good linemates and I think with Rants we are starting to get a glimps of that. Mcdavid will end up being one of the top 10 players of all time if not top 5 the kind of player that turns Patrick Maroon into a first line player so we need patients with Mack and let the team grow and build around him.

  • Chris Hopkins

    You just spent 800 words to make one single point; in your opinion Nathan MacKinnon is more valuable than Duchene or Landeskog.

    As John Oliver would say, cool.

    Lets walk down this path for a little bit. The first question to ask yourself is, more valuable to whom? To play this out, lets find a trade partner. Hello Ottawa Senators! In your theory of MacKinnon being someone a GM would “pay through the nose for”, the package would have to be larger than the defenseman, high prospect, 1st rounder template that Sakic is asking for in return for Landeskog/Duchene. Which as I’ve pointed out in another post is a very similar price to that paid for Bobby Ryan, etc. players of 92/9’s ilk.

    In Ottawa’s case, that package would look something like Chabot, White, Brown, and a 1st. A large chuck, or most of MacKinnon’s value is tied to future value rather than present day value, as to make a trade like this you are betting that MacKinnon will play better than the 3.5 season of ice time he has logged. He is in fact only about 2 years more advanced than the 3 players listed. So in making a deal like that if you are the Senators, you are betting that you can generate more utility from 6.5 years of MacKinnon than you can from 28 seasons of 4 high level prospects that are not that far behind 29 in terms of development. If only 1 of those 4 guys becomes an NHL all-star caliber player, you already lose that trade flat out. If 2 are highly successful, you never work in hockey again. The Avs have already made the bet on MacKinnon’s future value partly because they had to, and they are never going to find someone to pay a price that will value him the same way the Avs do. That’s why he’s untouchable.

    You have to keep in mind that trades don’t happen in a vacuum and more and more front office types are trending toward risk aversion as it keeps them in their jobs for another day. Long gone are the days of moving the rights to Eric Lindros for an entire olympic team. Those deals will never happen again.

    The other side to this problem is what it does to the Avalanche’s competitive window. If you trade MacKinnon you are likely pushing that out another 2 years. Duchene has 2 years left on his deal and already appears checked out. Good luck convincing him to sign another contract after the team trades away MacKinnon. So you still have that problem to deal with. If you want to propose a full nuclear option and trade everyone for as many prospects as possible, that would be semi-interesting, but your idea was to keep Landeskog and Duchene without explaining how that could happen.

    Look, whoever is in charge of the Avs next year is going to look like a genius. The Avs could make zero moves and still be significantly better next term with simple regression to the mean. So no matter what is done its going to be hard to argue weather a move was good or bad with a casual fan. I get that. But for me the most obvious move that could be made is Duchene to Montreal for Sergachev, McCarron and a 1st. Duchene is a bigger help for a team trying to win right now than MacKinnon is, in my opinion. He’s a proven 30 goal scorer and has a more mature game at this point.

    I know Marc Bergevin just said he’s not moving Sergachev, but I’ll give you a dollar for every person that truly knows what that guy is thinking. That is max value you could get for any player the Avs could trade and it moves the player most expendable to Colorado. It also makes a ton of sense for Montreal. They have about a 2-3 year window to win with their current roster makeup and actually have a healthy carey price this year, plus a town used to winning that hasn’t done it in 24 years. Duchene’s contract also happens to line up perfectly for that team.

    Trading MacKinnon would just create more questions than answers and you are going to be hard pressed to get any kind of return you think you are going to get, just ask Tyler Seguin.

  • niwotsblessing

    MacK has the hockey IQ of sheet rock. Your idea has value, thanks for speaking the unspeakable.

  • boratbuff

    Reidy, good job with the hot-take click-bait title of this article. You got me and a bunch of others to click on an Avs post, that’s not easy to do nowadays. But hey, if you have to sacrifice your credibility to get the job done, so be it. Your employers are proud of you.

  • atcjlee

    Partially agree. He shouldn’t be on the “untouchable” list. No one should on a team this bad. However, if you are looking for a “good young D, and some prospects”, I say no. We have young D. Zadorov is doing well, and I’m sure the young D we get back is only going to be marginally better than Bigras. No prospect we get back is going to be better than 29. He isn’t the franchise center like you mentioned, so Sakic shouldn’t give him the franchise treatment.

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