With the news coming yesterday that Avalanche forward Peter Mueller would be out indefinitely thanks to receiving a concussion during a pre-season game the other night, the Avs are potentially in the hunt for a replacement. While there’s not too much left going on with the free agent wire, scouting for trade possibilities could be in the best interests of the Avalanche front office if they’re unsure of when the now concussion susceptible Mueller will be out.
One team jumps out immediately for readily-available help and The Denver Post’s Adrian Dater starts sniffing around heavily at the New Jersey Devils to see what they could offer Colorado.
The Devils have three forwards who are definitely available and whom the team would probably dearly love to move. They are former Av Brian Rolston, Jamie Langenbrunner and Dainius Zubrus. While I loved Rolston as a player in Boston and Minnesota, he is coming off a terrible first year in Jersey after signing a huge contract (he’s got two years left on a deal with a $5.062 million cap hit). He’s also 35. His age and contract make it highly, highly improbable the Avs would even think of trying to get him back. But he is a left winger who is capable of good hockey I believe, and the Avs have tons of cap room.
Still, assuming Rolston is a no-go, Langenbrunner and Zubrus are possibilities. Neither really fits in with the “Young Guns, rebuild with youth (and do it on the cheap)” new philosophy of Avs management. But the Avs can’t live in this dream world of doing it with kids all the time, when injuries strike. Sometimes you need some quick veteran help, and these two could give some.
We’ve talked a lot about the Devils and their need to shed salary as well as about who they’d be looking to deal, but Langenbrunner is the one guy that gets left out of the discussion and with good reason. Langenbrunner is the captain of the Devils and after going through a seemingly tumultuous year with former coach Jacques Lemaire has a clean slate to deal with in John MacLean.
Chances are that if anyone is going to be dangled to Colorado, Rolston will be the first and foremost discussed guy. Whether or not the Avs would want a guy making over $5 million on the cap for the next two seasons that could be on a fast downside of his career seems unlikely. Getting under the salary cap can create strange bedfellows, however, and if Peter Mueller is slated to be out for a while, Colorado and New Jersey make sense as potential trade partners.