It was announced over the weekend that Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog will be out indefinitely due to knee surgery. The Avalanche winger is set to undergo surgery on Monday.
The timing of Landeskog’s surgery could work out for the Avalanche. Even if he misses several weeks, which he’s the Avs are looking forward to the playoffs anyway.
Colorado currently sits comfortably atop the NHL with 89 points in 60 games, a .742 point percentage. They have a 13-point lead over the Blues for first place in the Central Division and a 10-point cushion on the Flames, who the Avs beat on Sunday night, for the top spot in the Western Conference.
Landeskog has yet to be put on long-term injured reserve, which would open up some cap space for a potential trade; the Avs captain has a cap hit of $7 million. If the Avalanche are looking to fill the gap left by Landeskog, there’s a captain on the East Coast that could do just that.
Claude Giroux has been linked to the Avalanche for what seems like years now, even if it has only been several weeks. Giroux will be the most-attractive trade deadline rental if he elects to waive his no-movement clause. If he does waive that clause, Colorado could be the destination for him.
Giroux would be able to fill in for Landeskog on the left wing while also bringing his versatility to the Avalanche. The Flyers captain has played on both the wing and at center this season, including a strong performance at the pivot on Sunday night.
Giroux scored his 291th goal on Sunday night, giving him 900 career points in 999 career games. He’s now up to 42 points (18 goals, 24 assists) in 56 games on the season. The versatile forward would have a great chance to chase the Stanley Cup with the Avalanche, who are the odds-on favorite to win it all this year.
Earlier this month, Pierre LeBrun reported that Giroux had yet to ask the Flyers for a trade, but he expected things to ramp up in the coming weeks. Well, it is now the coming weeks and things need to ramp up with the trade deadline one week away. LeBrun also speculated that Giroux could bring back a “triple-asset” package, including a first-round pick, younger player, and a prospect; or “at least two assets of higher quality.”
If the Flyers do look to trade Giroux to Colorado, the Avalanche could circumvent the salary cap as the Lightning did –– and Golden Knights are doing –– by placing Landeskog on LTIR until the playoffs.
There is also some pressure on Chuck Fletcher to move Giroux now that one of their other trade chips, Rasmus Ristolainen, has been locked up. Ristolainen could’ve likely been moved for a first- or second-round draft pick and another piece, helping kickstart the “aggressive rebuild.” However, the Flyers re-signed Ristolainen to a five-year, $25.5 million extension instead.
Nevertheless, the ball is in Giroux’s court –– or should we say the puck is in Giroux’s zone. He holds all of the cards, and even if he does waive his no-movement clause, there's no guarantee that Fletcher will get the package that he wants for the captain.
Keep an eye on the rumors as the trade winds pick up with the deadline coming up fast.