Colorado Avalanche: Buying Brassard A Good Idea

Colorado Avalanche

At the deadline, the Colorado Avalanche ended up as buyers and landed Derick Brassard.

With the NHL Trade Deadline now two weeks past, the buyers and sellers of the league have made the moves. Good or bad, agree or disagree, it’s all now said and done.

The Colorado Avalanche were involved in one move at the deadline, which for you keeping track at home is now 17 years in a row that the Avs have made a move on deadline day.

The Trade

To Colorado – Derick Brassard, Conditional 2020 6th Rd Pick (FLA)*

To  Florida – 2020 3rd Rd Pick (COL)

*Condition – If Colorado re-signs Brassard the pick goes back to Florida, if Brassard is not signed Colorado gets the pick

Colorado, Buyers or Sellers?

Colorado is not a cup contending team yet. Plain and simple. You look at the teams that are considered “Cup Contenders” and the Avalanche just plain and simple are not there yet. So if you’re a non-cup contending team, sell off all UFAs, right? Some may think so, especially with Colorado having Colin Wilson, Gabriel Bourque, Patrik Nemeth, and Semyon Varlamov all on expiring contracts. There’s no use in debating what each of them are worth, little or big, but the temptation to get something for leaving players is always present.

Colorado, at the time of the Trade Deadline, was 3 points out of the final spot in the Western Conference. The temptation to want the extra one up on your opponents is present. Colorado has not made the playoffs in back to back years since 2003-2004. That’s 15 years of non consecutive playoff births. The Avalanche want to break that streak.

This year for the Avs – making the playoffs is the bar. The team has expectations now. Coming up the pipe, the Avalanche have 5 first round picks (and one that was the 32nd pick OA) coming to training camp (4 of which will be there for the first time). This is the organization’s time to get meaningful playoff experience for their young leaders, so to pave the way for all the first round picks and the strong team coming around the corner. Buying this playoffs was a necessity for the team.

What Brassard Brings

Embed from Getty Images

From the eye test, Derrick Brassard has provided, thus far, an additional offensive threat for the Avalanche. He’s not going to wow anyone with his stats, but much beyond the Avalanche’s top line any help the team can get they will take. He’s been on each powerplay unit and for what my eyes tell me – he is providing a much need shoot first mentality. For those not around the Avs all that often, quite frequently fans find themselves screaming, “shoot”.

For the stats, so far with the Avalanche – in 5 games played, Brassard has 2 goals, and 0 assists. which in this small sample size points to him producing more goals per game than he had this season with either Florida or Pittsburgh this season. His utilization with the Avs has been primarily been in the offensive zone. He is at 58.88% offensive zone starts with the Avs, versus 51.11% and 47.59% with Florida and Pittsburgh respectfully.

It is natural to think he’ll get more offensive starts with the Avalanche than his previous two teams because the Avalanche already have players that eat up defensive zone starts (looking at you Carl Soderberg, Matthew Nieto and Matt Calvert). The Avalanche already use one specific line designed to play their own zone, so Brassard utilization is to provide an offensive punch for the Avs. Brassard is not being asked to take top minutes in his own zone or match up against the opponents top lines; rather his job, in this small sample size, will be to take weaker opposition in the offensive zone. Expect Brassard to bring more offense to Colorado than he had at either Pittsburgh or Florida.

The Picks Involved

So why was Colorado okay giving up a top 100 pick for a rental? According to Sean Tierney (@ChartingHockey)’s expected pick value chart – the value of a 100th overall pick comparatively to a 200th overall pick is virtually negligible.

In the end, this trade will, to my eyes, look as if Colorado takes on the remainder of Brassard’s contract, which is a mere 3 million with retained salary. At the end of the day, after all is said and done, Colorado will only have to pay him just about a million total dollars. Oh, and in case anyone forgot, Colorado has ample cap space.

Final Analysis

This move, to me, is a “Thank you” to the team from General Manager Joe Sakic. With this move Sakic is saying that he understands going through periods of rebuilds suck. He is saying, go get them boys, the keys are in your hands. Go get yourselves meaningful playoff experience so that when this team’s cup contending window opens, the opportunity won’t be too big for them.

Brassard will bring a depth scorer, beyond the top 3, that can slot essentially anywhere in the Avalanche line up, who can hopefully eat up easy minutes to put points on the board. Go get ’em Avs, fight for the playoffs.

Sources: capfriendly.com / naturalstattrick.com / nhl.com / @ChartingHockey

Featured Image Photo Credit – Nikos Michals

Author: Karl Biddison