While the Avalanche haven’t been making many splashy moves in free agency, the team has been busy in the offseason trade market.
First, they sent center Carl Soderberg to Arizona in exchange for defenseman Kevin Connauton, a move that most viewed as little more than a salary dump.
But today, Colorado made a deal that is a much bigger cause for excitement, sending Tyson Barrie, Alexander Kerfoot and sixth-round pick in 2020 to Toronto in exchange for Nazem Kadri, Calle Rosen and a third-round pick in 2020. That’s a lot of moving parts, but the key elements in the trade were Barrie and Kadri.
Heading into the final season of his current contract, few saw Barrie returning to the Avs beyond 2020; so Joe Sakic has been trying to trade the defenseman for quite some time. When deals fell through at the draft last month, there was some speculation that the market had cooled. Apparently, Colorado’s general manager was able to reignite it.
He was certainly motivated to do so, as jettisoning Barrie took half of the defensemen’s $5.5 million off the Avalanche’s books for the coming season, while also opening up spots on the blue line for Colorado’s talented batch young players. Not surprisingly, Sakic cited the second benefit as the reason why the deal was made.
“With the arrival and emergence of Samuel Girard and Cale Makar, as well as the recent draft pick of Bowen Byram, we felt it was time to move in this direction with Tyson’s contract expiring next summer,” the GM said about the trade.
That may be true, but Colorado is giving up a defenseman who posted 59 points last season, racking up 14 goals and 45 points. By contrast, that’s more production that Toronto got out of Kadri in 2018-19.
In 73 games with the Maple Leafs last season, the center tallied 44 points, on 16 goals and 28 assists. Kadri has been known to produce more, however, as he recorded back-to-back 30-goal seasons in the previous two years, including a career high 32 in each campaign; those totals ranked seventh among NHL centers during that timeframe.
The success or failure of this trade will hinge on two things: First, whether or not the Avs young defensemen can step up and fill the void left by Barrie’s departure. Second, whether or not Kadri can return to his form from two and three seasons ago, as opposed to last year.