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The Avs have made a few deals here the last couple days. Let's break them down. We'll start with the blockbuster the Avs pulled off late last night, and work backwards to the Andrson-Elliot trade.

Avalanche trade F Chris Stewart, D Kevin Shattenkirk, and a 2nd round pick to St Louis for D Erik Johnson, F Jay McClement, and a 1st round pick. Holy Schnikes!

Let's start with the easy parts: Kevin Shattenkirk is going to be a very good player, but this is a classic case of asset management. The Avs have some very good offensive defensemen in the system: Stephan Elliot, Tyson Barrie, Cameron Guance, Joel Chouinard and Jonas Holøs all are likely to make some impact on the NHL level, and chances are that one of those guys (bet on Elliot) will be at least close to the NHL player that Shattenkirk is. One of those young defensemen were expendable, and Shattenkirk was worth the most.

I've seen a few comments about how Jay McClement is a throw in, and if that's the case, he's the best throw in in a long time. McClement is a top notch penalty killer (something the Avs desperately need) and at 27 he's in the prime of her career. His stats are pretty average (25.6/27.6 SF/SA/60). But they look phenomenal when you consider he starts in the defensive zone 56.4% of the time, which is tops on the Blues. Essentially he's been the Blues number one defensive forward, and Blues fans feel he could be Selke worthy. Throw him on a line with O'Reilly and Winnik and you have the Avs best 3rd line since Yelle-Podein-Keane.

More after the jump

Erik Johnson is exactly what the Avs need. a big strong defenseman. He immediately becomes the Avs #1 defenseman, and I have him penciled in with Quincey as the Avs top-pairing next season. The Avs desperately needed this. At 22, he could be back there for the next 15 years. What's easy to forget is that, since he's been in the NHL for a few seasons, he's only 10 months older than Shattenkirk.  He also instantly helps the powerplay, and that's something the Avs also desperately needed.

Now the downside. Johnson's GF/GA/60 is 2.33/2.86. His SF/SA/60 is 27.3/25.7, which is pretty respectable, but not what you'd expect of a true #1. The worst part is that his offensive zone start % is 55.4 which means he's been a bit protected behind a strong St. Louis blueline. He won't have that luxury in Colorado.

Basically here's the gist: he has the potential to be a #1 shutdown guy, he has the talent to be a Norris winner, but he still has a long ways to go. Right now he's an above average NHL defenseman (which still makes him the Avs #1 defenseman for the rest of the season).

Chris Stewart For me, and most Avs fans, this was the hardest part to lose. The Avs winger was in the middle of a breakout season and despite some recent struggles he has been one of the Avs top forwards this season. Tons of potential, and he was starting to come into his own. He also leaves a huge hole on the top line and leaves the Avs with very very little forward depth. His loss will be felt.

However, some of his underlying stats indicate that the Avs may have been able to sell high on Stewart. Despite all his goals and points his SF/SA/60 was very pedestrian (26.7/26.9). So was his GF/GA/60 is even worse (3.17/3.66) and all these pedestrian stats are despite him getting nearly 60% of his starts in the offensive zone. Stewarts struggles likely weren't a lack of work ethic or not skating hard... he was regressing to the mean (This kills me to say by the way, he was my favorite current Avs and was the sweater/shirt I had my eye on for my next purchase).

Ryan Stoa: step on up. It's sink or swim time kid.


My final analysis is that this makes the Avs a better team in the long run, but it's really hard to take on an emotional level. Stewart and Shattenkirk were fast becoming fan favorites, but they had their flaws as players as well. Johnson fills a big need, and Stewart is more easily replaceable, via free agency or draft, than finding a top notch defenseman, especially in this upcoming free agent class. Like cough syrup this is a tough one to swallow, but ultimately will help the team.

Avalanche trade G-Craig Anderson to Ottawa for G-Brian Elliot

Craig Anderson: I have said plenty about Andy in the past month, and The Goalie Guild has broken down the two players as well as anyone (although his analysis has too much pop-psychology on Anderson for my liking). I think Anderson is a good goalie who had a bad year, and the Avs sold low on him, which is always a mistake. However they weren't going to re-sign him this offseason so they got something in return.

Brian Elliott: And the something the Avs got back in return is a Peter Budaj clone. Goalie Guilds analysis almost reads exactly like his analysis of Budaj (strong technically, strong positionally, but gives up bad goals). Their career stats are nearly identical (Elliott: .903sv%, 2.81GAA, 59-45, Budaj: .902, 2.80, 99-82). So I'm just going to call the goalies Budajlliott for the rest of the season.

Here's what this trade means. Brian Elliott will be the Avs backup goalie next season, and I'd be absolutely floored if the Avs also re-signed Peter Budaj (Elliott is an RFA and Budaj is a UFA). This means the Avs are in the market for a goalie, and that Peter Budaj is in his last stages of his Colorado Avalanche career.