3 Centers Linked To Avalanche This Offseason In A Trade

The Colorado Avalanche might lose J.T. Compher, their second line center from this season, in free agency as he's an unrestricted free agent. Although there aren't very many great options in free agency and the team will likely have to overpay and commit long-term to sign someone, the trade market is a good area to look at.

There are top-six centermen with just a few years left on their deals that the teams are either looking to move out because of where the team is or due to the uncertainty of re-signing. Here's a look at the three the Avalanche can bring in with a trade.

Elias Lindholm

The Calgary Flames are going to have a new general manager and coach next season, but the real problem seemed to be the coach, Darryl Sutter. Many of the players didn't like him and while Lindholm didn't say anything about committing to the Flames on another deal in the end of season interviews, his perspective might have changed now.

Assuming it hasn't and Lindholm is going to want a big raise on his next contract, look for the Flames to either be asking around or get phone calls about his availability. The Flames can't lose him for nothing after the season, might not have enough cap space to keep everyone, and could be a middle-of-the-pack team again. The Avalanche could greatly benefit from a center with top line capabilities who is extremely good defensively on a cheap contract for one year.

Nick Schmaltz

Nick Schmaltz has the longest term left on his deal, but his contract doesn't line up with the timeline of the Arizona Coyotes. That team is still going to be a non-contender for a few seasons, meaning Schmaltz might move on after his contract ends and also require a pay raise.

He's a near point-per-game player who's capable of playing center or the wing, but struggles to stay healthy. That's not ideal for the Avalanche considering they always have someone who is missing games with an injury. Schmaltz is in his prime and is under contract for three more years at a good price. This covers a good portion of the widow to win again for Colorado.

Evgeny Kuznetsov

The Washington Capitals are looking to move some forwards out because they are close to the cap and would like somewhat of a new look up front for their final few runs at a Stanley Cup with Alexander Ovechkin. This is where Evgeny Kuznetsov comes in. Before last season the Capitals brought in Dylan Strome to play center, and when Nicklas Backstrom returned, the three all played down the middle alternating lines.

The Capitals need more from their wingers and can afford to sacrifice a $7.8 million AAV player to do so. Strome did a fine job and the 1C last season and Backstrom still has two years left on his deal at a high price. With Kuznetsov off the books they can add what they need. If Colorado is to acquire Kuznetsov, he is pricey to take on his entire contract, especially for 2024-25 when Gabriel Landeskog is expected back. Some of that contract will have to be eaten, but the Avalanche would be bringing in a solid skilled second line center who doesn't miss very many games.

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