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Adding defenseman on Colorado wish list

Avalanche NHL Trade Deadline outlook

by Rick Sadowski / Correspondent

With the 2016 NHL Trade Deadline approaching at 3 p.m. ET on Monday, Feb. 29, is taking a close look at what moves teams might be looking to make and whether they'll be buyers or sellers. Today, the Colorado Avalanche:


Record: 27-25-4, 58 points; 5th in Central Division, 2nd in Western Conference Wild Card

Unrestricted free agents: Andrew Bodnarchuk, D; Patrick Bordeleau, LW; Marc-Andre Cliche, C; Nate Guenin, D; Zach Redmond, D; Jack Skille, RW; Ben Street, C; Alex Tanguay, LW; Jesse Winchester, C 

Restricted free agents: Tyson Barrie, D; Brandon Gormley, D; Mikhail Grigorenko, C; Joey Hishon, C; Nathan MacKinnon, C; Andreas Martinsen, LW; Calvin Pickard, G; Duncan Siemens, D 

Projected 2016 draft picks: 8 (1 first)

Projected 2017 draft picks: 8 (1 first)

Needs: Defense

Surpluses: Draft picks, goalies

Players potentially in play: Reto Berra, G; Gormley, Guenin, Hishon, Siemens 

Likely status: Buyer

Skinny: The Avalanche went 18-8-2 in December and January to climb into the Stanley Cup Playoff race in the Western Conference, but they've played poorly since returning from the All-Star break, especially in the defensive end. Colorado has trouble exiting the zone and depends on goalies Semyon Varlamov and Calvin Pickard to make far too many saves. They could use another defenseman to help Tyson Barrie, Francois Beauchemin and Erik Johnson solve that problem. The Avalanche feel they have two promising young defensemen in Chris Bigras and Nikita Zadorov, who was reassigned Jan. 23 to San Antonio in the American Hockey League for more seasoning. General manager Joe Sakic could be interested in acquiring a left wing to play on the top line with Nathan MacKinnon and Matt Duchene if Mikhail Grigorenko doesn't pan out, but he doesn't have much in the way of bargaining chips. Complicating matters, the Avalanche already have a League-maximum 50 players under contract. Sakic's priorities are re-signing Barrie, Nathan MacKinnon and Calvin Pickard, and they won't come cheap. Right wing Mikko Rantanen, Colorado's first-round pick (No. 10) in the 2015 NHL Draft, played in the AHL All-Star Game and is expected to be on the Avalanche roster next season, but he could be recalled to provide an offensive spark down the stretch. Pickard has established himself as a capable NHL goalie, so Reto Berra could be traded, but he's still recovering from an ankle injury sustained Dec. 21.

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