DENVER -- The Colorado Avalanche believe they are in a stronger position to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs after trading for forward Mikkel Boedker and defenseman Eric Gelinas on Monday.
The Avalanche acquired Boedker from the Arizona Coyotes for forward Alex Tanguay, and prospects Conner Bleackley and Kyle Wood. They sent a third-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft to the New Jersey Devils for Gelinas.
The players are expected to join the Avalanche in time for their game Tuesday against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. Colorado (32-28-4) is two points ahead of Minnesota (28-25-10) for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Western Conference.
"We expect to make the playoffs," Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic said. "That's what the moves are for, trying to help your team get better."
Boedker, who is 6-feet and 211 pounds, was the Coyotes' third-leading scorer with 39 points (13 goals, 26 assists) in 62 games, along with 10 penalty minutes and a team-worst minus-28 rating. He'll replace Tanguay on a line with the fleet Nathan MacKinnon and captain Gabriel Landeskog.
Boedker signed a one-year, $3.75 million contract last summer and will be eligible for unrestricted free agency July 1.
"We feel by getting Boedker, he can skate and he can keep up with MacKinnon," Sakic said. "He can score goals. We think he's going to complement Nathan. Obviously, we're in the last playoff spot right now and have to keep playing well. We feel with Boedker, for sure you're getting a lot of speed there and a guy who can score goals. We're really excited to have him."
Boedker, 26, is from Brondby, Denmark. He scored on a breakaway to give the Coyotes a 2-1 overtime win against the Avalanche on Dec. 27 at Pepsi Center. He was the Coyotes' first-round pick (No. 8) in the 2008 NHL Draft. He had career highs of 19 goals and 51 points in 2013-14, and has 80 goals, 133 assists and 86 penalty minutes in 445 NHL games.
"I think there's so much skill and so much talent in the lineup all the way through," Boedker told Sportsnet. "Just being able to work with them and see how creative they are and see their hands and skill. Obviously even with Jarome Iginla, there's a guy right there you can learn a lot from.
"Going into that lineup will be a tremendous opportunity and hopefully I can make the best of it."
Iginla is close friends with Tanguay and was sorry to see him leave, but he's excited about the addition of Boedker.
"He was one of the top guys available," Iginla said. "He's very quick and dynamic. He's explosive, he's crafty. We'll definitely have a speedy team, a team that can put you on your heels quickly. To be able to get him with some of the speed that's here on the offensive side, it does show confidence, a belief in us. [Tuesday] is a big game for us and it's always exciting to be in the hunt and [the trades] show a belief in us that we can make the playoffs."
Landeskog said the trades show that management "wants to give us the best chance possible to win" and make a playoff run.
The 6-4, 215-pound Gelinas, 24, had one goal, five assists and 16 penalty minutes in 34 games with the Devils. He was a healthy scratch the past nine games, but is expected to be paired with Chris Bigras, who turned 21 last week and has played in 20 games since his Jan. 13 recall from San Antonio of the American Hockey League.
Gelinas, from Vanier, Ontario, is in the first of a two-year, $3.15 million contract with a salary-cap charge of $1.575 million. A second-round pick (No. 54) of the Devils in 2009, he has 14 goals, 40 assists and 80 penalty minutes in 156 NHL games in parts of three seasons.
"He's an athlete and he's got a great shot from the point," Sakic said. "Watching our power play, I think we could use a big shot from the point like that, who's going to put a lot of pucks on net."
Tanguay, 36, struggled this season and has four goals, 18 assists and 24 penalty minutes in 52 games. He ended a 14-game slump with a goal Saturday in the Avalanche's 5-3 loss to the Detroit Red Wings in the 2016 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series game at Coors Field.
One of Avalanche's four first-round selections (No. 12) in 1998, Tanguay was a pivotal member of their Stanley Cup championship team in 2001. He was in his second stint with Colorado after being acquired from the Calgary Flames in June 2013. He has 279 goals and 571 assists in 1,070 regular-season games in 16 seasons, with 19 goals and 40 assists in 98 playoff games. He is in the final year of his contract with a salary-cap charge of $3.5 million.
"Awesome teammate, awesome guy," center Matt Duchene said. "I hope he re-signs there and finds a good home for next season."
Bleackley, 20, was Colorado's first-round pick (No. 23) in 2014. Wood, 19, was the Avalanche's third-round choice (No. 84) in 2014.