The year is less than 2 weeks old, but that isn’t stopping the Avs from stripping down their roster for parts. There aren’t many teams getting ready to sell, just the Avs and probably the Coyotes sooner or later, so for the time being, Colorado controls the market. They are willing to make moves, but they can also hold out if they believe better deals might be on their way.
Colorado traded away their longest tenured player to kick things off, sending Cody McLeod to the Nashville Predators. McLeod is known as one of the tougher players in the league, having accumulated the most fighting majors in the season last year, and putting forth a strong effort again in the current year. While that may curry favor within the locker room, the demand for those players isn’t necessarily that great.
The trade did reflect that. It was a one for one deal, with center Felix Girard coming from the Predators. Joe Sakic was quoted in the Denver Post as saying that “He was a player we targeted more for [AHL Affiliate] San Antonio.” Girard may ultimately break into the NHL for a cup of coffee, but Colorado values him as organizational filler. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the Avalanche won’t benefit from this deal, aside from clearing McLeod’s salary, however.
By moving McLeod, they will get a bit of roster flexibility, if they need it. Part of the value Sakic and the Avs put on Girard was his leadership, which will help put the right mindset in prospects that do have a future on the NHL roster. As the Avs attempt to get younger, they will definitely be tapping into their squad in San Antonio, so Girard may prove to pay dividends, albeit indirectly, fairly soon.
The Predators new tough guy will play his first game, in Colorado, against the Avalanche on Saturday.
[pictured above, the genesis of a presently ongoing awkward conversation]