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Sakic Won't Mortgage Avs' Future At Trade Deadline

by Ron Knabenbauer / Colorado Avalanche

Like all NHL general managers, Colorado Avalanche boss Joe Sakic is always looking to make his team better.

Just don't expect Sakic and the Avs to make big splash prior to the Feb. 29 NHL Trade Deadline. The former Colorado captain won't mortgage the club's future on getting a player that might only be with the organization for a short time.

"I'm not trading high picks or some of our top prospects for rental players," Sakic stated on Thursday morning at Family Sports Center. "If we're going to move some of those guys, it is going to have to be for a player or two that is going to help us down the line. There is no interest in doing that, but we're for sure going to look to add a little bit."

Sakic's hesitation comes from the fact that the Avalanche is still working on building its organizational depth in the minor leagues and with various other junior and college players. Colorado has done a better job in recent years of restocking the cupboard, so to speak, but it's not quite where management wants it.

Yet, Sakic will keep the door open if the right deal comes around.

"I wouldn't say [we're] not looking for some rentals. We're looking for some help, but I'm not going to trade away high draft picks," Sakic said. "We still need organizational depth, and we're building toward that. At this deadline, no, we're not going to move first- or second-round picks for rental players."

Among the areas that Sakic noted the team could improve is on defense and with forward depth.

"We're not perfect. Both sides, we could use another puck-management forward and a solid D-man," he said. "You are not going to get top-four D. Teams aren't giving those guys up. Just add some more depth; we have been trying to do [it], and we'll continue to try and do [it]."

The current market for rear guards, especially top-end ones is tiny, if existent at all.

"I tried to get a No. 1 (defenseman), they didn't want to do it. I don't know why," Sakic joked while meeting with members of the media.

A lot of what the Avalanche decide to do by the 1 p.m. MT deadline in two Mondays, and what is available, will probably be decided in the next 11 days as the teams buying or selling become less blurry.

This NHL season has been one of the tightest in recent campaigns, with 24 teams in the playoff picture or within six points of a spot entering Thursday night's contests.

"We've been trying to add some pieces to help the team, so we'll see where that goes," Sakic said. "It just seems right now with so many teams in [the playoff race]—there are not a lot of teams out of it—everybody is just deciding where they're going to go. We would for sure like to add.

"A lot of parity right now and a lot of teams battling for basically two spots in our conference. We're in [a postseason spot] right now, and we're hoping to stay in it."

Sakic looked confident that Colorado would make the Stanley Cup tournament after his club rebounded nicely from a 4-9-1 start. The Avs sit in the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference, though many other teams chasing them have several games in hand.

"It was a good turnaround, but we're not done yet," Sakic said. "Our goal is to make the playoffs, and that is what we expect."

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