The Avalanche are all-in on their current roster for a Stanley Cup push in the upcoming months.
Avs General Manager Joe Sakic met with the media during Colorado’s practice on Tuesday to talk about the trade deadline and the additions he made.
Sakic completed one of the first trades of the day, acquiring forward Vladislav Namestnikov from Ottawa for a fourth-round draft pick before trading defenseman Calle Rosen back to Toronto for goaltender Michael Hutchinson.
“We knew the guys that we wanted to talk about that would be a good fit for our club,” Sakic said. “We added a lot over the summer. We’ve got some high-end top guys and we’ve got a lot of depth here. We have a team that believes and has a lot of chemistry.”
There were a lot of big-name forwards attached to the Avs leading up the deadline. Most notably, Chris Kreider of the New York Rangers, who ended up re-signing with his club on Monday.
“I won’t comment on what GMs I talked to and how many conversations I had with them,” Sakid added. “We had the one trade up front for Namestnikov. We’ve really liked him for a couple of years. We think he’ll be a good fit for our team.”
Namestnikov, 27, has scored 12 goals and 25 points in 56 games this season between Ottawa and the Rangers. The Russian forward is tied for the league lead in both shorthanded goals (4) and shorthanded points (6). He plays center and wing and has played big minutes on both the power play and the penalty kill in the past.
“He has a great motor, highly competitive guy,” Avs coach Jared Bednar said about Colorado’s new forward. “He has a good skill set. He’s a guy that could factor in on both special teams. A real good penalty killer that has played different roles on different power plays. I think he adds skill to our top nine and is a really good depth forward.”
Namestnikov has not played in the playoffs since 2016 with the Tampa Bay Lightning, the team that drafted him. He appeared in 17 games and recorded three points.
“The playoffs are what you play for,” Namestnikov said after his first practice with the Avs. “Over the last couple of years, unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to play in the playoffs. I think here it’s a good opportunity and I’m hungry to get there.”
Hutchinson, who was playing for the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League before the trade, will backup Pavel Francouz on Wednesday against the Buffalo Sabres.
The 29-year-old is 4-9-1 this season, playing mostly on the second of back-to-back nights for Toronto earlier in the year.
“I’m here to do whatever they need me to do,” Hutchinson said. “Every good organization, especially ones making a good playoff push need organizational depth. You need three goalies. If I happen to get a game in I’ll be ready to play.”
Sakic added: “We were looking for a depth goalie not only to help us but possibly the Eagles. We’ve had a lot of injuries at that position.”
Sakic did not trade any starters away. But the name Tyson Jost appeared in rumors throughout the week, especially on Monday, as a piece that Colorado was trying to move.
Jost, 21, is mired in a 35-game goalless drought and has had a disappointing season offensively. He has five goals and 16 points in 58 games but seems to be the likely odd man out upfront if the Avalanche get healthy.
Sakic quickly denied the assumption that he was attempting to trade the forward, who is on the last year of his entry-level deal.
“Every year there are names out there in the media. None of us really know where they come from,” Sakic said. “I’m the only one that really knows the players and the prospects that we talked about and that’s the way it’s always going to be. Tyson has played really well the last few weeks. The only thing he hasn’t done is put the puck in the net.”
Footnotes: Sakic and Bednar both said that the injured players, Mikko Rantanen, Nazem Kadri, Matt Calvert and Philipp Grubauer, are all expected back around mid-March. … Andre Burakovsky, who missed Saturday’s game with an illness is still not feeling well and is questionable for Wednesday. … Matt Nieto blocked a shot on Saturday and is also considered day-to-day. Both Burakovsky and Nieto practiced in non-contact sweaters on Tuesday. … Namestnikov skated on a line with Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Martin Kaut. … Hutchinson participated in is first full practice.