It wasn’t quite the equivalent of the time Geraldo Rivera went on live TV on a heavily promoted show to reveal what was inside Al Capone’s vault – a whole lot of dust, it turned out – but to Colorado Avalanche fans hoping for big revelations Wednesday, it might have been close.
The woeful, last-place Avalanche – most of whose players have been festooned with “For Sale” signs for a while now – did a whole lot of, well, um…not much on NHL trade deadline day.
General manager Joe Sakic’s final tally for moves Wednesday was two: The dealing of Jarome Iginla to Los Angeles for a conditional fourth-round pick that probably won’t get the conditions met to actually get the pick, and the export of fourth-liner Andreas Martinsen to Montreal for depth forward Sven Andrighetto.
Matt Duchene and Gabe Landeskog, who were traded to roughly half the NHL in rumor-mill transactions the last few weeks, are still Avs and will be for the rest of the regular season.
Does this give them and other trading-block players a new lease on life with the organization, a chance to audition to keep their jobs long-term, at least past this summer at the NHL draft – which is called “The Real Deadline Day” by many now?
“There’s no guarantees on any trades,” Sakic said, via conference call. “We’re going to do what’s best for our organization long-term. We’re going to try and keep getting younger and faster.”
Wednesday saw no major deals, unless Thomas Vanek-to-Florida or Curtis Lazar-to-Calgary is your idea of major. It’s been that way for a few years now in the cap-strapped NHL era. In the summer, when teams have newly freed up money from expired contracts, it’s easier to make the bigger deals.
On the major Canadian television networks whose broadcasts started early in the morning, there were almost as many analysts sitting around shiny studio tables as there were actual deals. If watching reporters Chris Johnston, Elliotte Friedman and John Shannon sit around looking at their phones in vain for any big trade news is your idea of entertaining fun, then Deadline Day was a hoot.
Still, with Sakic having been on the road regularly of late scouting other NHL players, and with him saying previously only Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen and Tyson Jost were untouchables, expectations were reasonable that he might have swung at least one major deal.
In the end, no. Hours before the deadline was up, in fact, BSNDenver, according to a source close to him, reported a Duchene deal was essentially dead in the water. Sakic’s asking prices just were not met.
“I don’t have to make any major moves. I like my players,” Sakic said. “I’m not the one who has gone out and thrown names around. I don’t do that.”
Still, Sakic did reiterate: Trades could easily still happen this summer. It probably will be easier to get more what he really wants for a Duchene and/or Landeskog. Namely, young, talented defense.
On trading Iginla to the Kings and his former coach in Calgary, Darryl Sutter, Sakic said “it was the right thing to do for Jarome.” If the Avs are to get that fourth-round pick, though, from the Kings? It hinges on Iginla re-signing with L.A., or winning a Stanley Cup as a King. No word if any unicorns have to ride across the top of Pike’s Peak as a condition, too.
“It’s a unique year,” said Sakic, discussing the trade market in a cap world and expansion year. “There’s an expansion draft everybody has to get ready for. There’s going to be potential trades with different teams around that time and then everybody will be getting ready for the draft as well. So, like I said, my focus is on our organization and doing whatever we think is best for us long-term.”