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I was going to do a completely comprehensive analysis of whom the Avs should target in their trade talks (The grammar rule that gives me the most trouble is who/whom), however I just didn't have time to do the research I normally do for these things.this is kind of a cliff notes for whom the Avs could trade for. Remember if they don't get one of these guys today, March 3rd is the real deadline, although there's no trading from today at 1:00 pm until March 1st.

Florida Panthers v New York Islanders
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First of all, I'm perfectly ok with the Avs doing little more than shipping out Marek Svatos for prospects and keeping everyone else. If they want to ship out JM Liles, well I've got no qualms with that either. But I think the Avs should target a top-6 LWer if they can get one for a reasonable price. The key there is reasonable price. The Avs probably can part with one of their defensive prospects behind Shattenkirk (Cohen, Elliott, Gaunce, or Barrie). I'd prefer avoid trading away Cohen and Barrie if at all possible. And Shattenkirk should only be available for more than a rental, and someone very good. He's nearly untouchable. The key for the Avs is to not make too big of a splash and not cast off young promise for a few months of a rental. Keeping the core group in tact is the most important thing. I don't expect the Avs to make too many moves today, or March 3rd.

Slightly off-topic. Why the hell isn't the actual trade deadline today anyways? Wouldn't giving the players the 2-week Olympic break to adjust, move to a new city and at least start getting adjusted during the 2 week break, and maybe even get some practice and meeting with the coaches in so they adjustment is smooth. Case in point: Vesa Toskala was traded to Anaheim and missed a game or two because of immigration issues, as did Ales Kotalik when going from NYR to Calgary. Anything like this would be avoided, or at least the impact would be minimal, if they had a 2 weeks to figure it out. Sure players competing in the Olympics wouldn't have that luxury, but it would be beneficial to the other 95% of players and pretty much every team. That said trading for a guy and watching him get hurt in the Olympics would be a nightmare. Ok back to the Avs targets

Here's who the Avs could go after:

More After the jump

After reading this letter from Florida ownership to their fans, it'd be irresponsible to not at least look at some Florida players, since they are going to blow the team up. So let's look at some of the Florida wingers the Avs may want (here's some stats from Behind the Net, so we can look at how they're doing):

David Booth -This would be everything I said the Avs wouldn't do, because this would be a blockbuster. That said, Booth is a very good player, and I'd love to see him in a unipron. He'd instantly solve the Avs biggest need for years to come, and he's only 25. He would cost the Avs some serious someone young and good, but he might be worth it.  I would think it would take at least a 1st rounder plus one of the Avs good young players: (Think Stoa, Jones, Yip or O'Reilly) or a top prospect and a draft pick (Shattenkirk and a second).It would be a hefty price.

Donny Rivette from Litterbox Cats sums up trading for Booth as such (in the comments) :

 

The only deal which would bring down the roof would be trading Booth. So if anyone’s truly untouchable he’s it.

 

Yeah, so it would take a lot. I'd start with Stoa, Liles and a 1st, but I wouldn't be surprised that IF Booth gets traded it would be for something along the lines of Yip, Cumiskey, Cohen and a 1st. That's almost as much as NJ paid for Kovalchuk, but  Booth is signed at a great deal ($4.25M) until '14-15. That's a long time. Also, if the Avs were serious about Booth, they could trade Wolski+ away as well.

Nathan Horton - He's a RWer, which the Avs absolutely don't need but unlike the RWers on the Avs I think he'd be able to easily make the transition over to the left side. He's big (6'2" 230lbs) and a quality scorer. He's also signed at a good deal until the '12-'13 season and is only 25. Again though, the price for Horton would be similar for the price for Booth. And I'm not certain that FLA's best bet for rebuilding is to trade away either of their two young guys they have locked into good contracts.

Analysis: There will be a lot of players available in Florida, I don't think Booth or Horton will be one of them. If they are though the Avs should make a pitch for Booth, but they will have to give up quite a bit. They do have logjams at RW and D, so they may have the pieces to do it.

Cory Stillman: Now here's a guy the Avs might take a hard look at. His best days are behind him, but he's still creating scoring chances (his GFON/60 is 3rd on the Panthers at 2.76) and he's a top 2 guy. He's also signed for a slightly expensive deal ($3.53M) through next season, and he's 36 years old. That contract though is low risk, high reward, as the Avs could probably use a veteran presence on the left side. His deal is short enough that it wouldn't prevent the Avs from retaining any of their young talent.

I think the Avs should make a pitch for Stillman. They might even be able to do Liles for Stillman straight up, but I imagine Liles + 3rd rounder might secure his services.

Michael Frolik: I'm not sure a talented enigmatic winger who's pretty soft in his own zone is the best fit for Sacco's system. Seems like a poor mans Wolski, with worse defense.  but at $1.25M/season he might be worth the risk, especially since he does create a lot of shots

Rostislav Olesz: 26 points in 59 games signed at $3.125M/season. He does create a lot of shots while on the ice, but his contract is pretty awful. If we can flip him for someone like Preissing it might be worth it, but really he's not worth it.

So if the Avs are going to pluck anyone from the Panthers, I'd love to see them go after Booth (someone I like A LOT), but I think realistically they could snag Stillman for a decent price.

Now, onto non-Panthers:

Ryan Whitney (CAR) - He's probably the prize of the Free Agent market, meaning he'll also be one of the most expensive guys out there. I'm'pretty sure the price for Whitney will be too high, but if the price includes a guy like Liles, someone Carolina has had an interest in previously, then it might be worth it. In reality I don't expect to the Avs to make much of a play for him.

Raffi Torres (CBJ) - I've been throwing his name out there for a while, but now I'm not so sure. he's got 28 points in 57 games (.491PPG) That's less than TJ Galiardi. He doesn't create a ton of shots, and his defense is average at best. Still he'd be an upgrade for the Avs, and I think they could get him relatively cheap. Maybe a 3rd round pick. If the pitch for Stillman fails, I'd go for him.

Paul Kariya (StL): - This is an interesting option. Many Avs fans have somewhat bitter memories of his first stint here, because he underperformed,  however he could be a great addition. Veteran LWer for Duchene. Proven playoff performer. And likely not going to cost a lot. His stats are similar to Torres' (28points in 54 games) but he's creating more shots and his GFON/60 is better than Torres. I think Kariya is a solid option and wouldn't cost the Avs all that much.

Alexei Ponikarovsky (TOR): - Ponikarovsky is a hot commodity. 41 points in 60 games with the Leafs is a pretty strong season. He's got the top GFON/60 on the Leaf, and it's because he creates a lot of chances . The problem here is "What would the Leafs expect in return". Being TOR there's probably someone on the HFBoards out there who thinks Duchene for Poni straight up is a good deal (Duchene's from near TOR, so it makes sense right!). But I''m not sure what Poni is actually worth. The Leafs have defense, so the Avs bargaining chips (almost entirely defense) don't really stack up with what the the Leafs would want. Toronto looks like the Avs worst trading partner right now.

Patrick Sharp (CHI):  not going to happen folks. He's an integral part of Chicago's cup run this season. However, he may be available after the season, as Chi is in Salary cap hell and he's likely to be a casualty. He's an excellent choice in the offseason/draft day if the Avs stay pat at the deadline.

Final Analysis: I'd love to see the Avs make a run at David Booth, even if it means giving up a guy like Yip or Jones. I don't think it will happen. After that, I think the Avs should go after Cory Stillman or Paul Kariya. I think both would bring some veteran leadership to this young club, and be solid 2nd line LWs for the Avs.I'd love to see Pnikarovsky, but I think the price is too high and our pieces don't align with Toronto very well.

Target: Cory Stillman - Straight up for Liles I think is a deal that works well for both teams. I like Stillman's extra year on his contract.

Secondary: Kariya, Torres, no one - If the Avs have to pay too much, it's not worth it. And the best solution may be to wait and go after Sharp in draft talks, or even try to negotiate with Kovalchuk as an UFA in the offseason. By no means do the Avs HAVE to make a move.