Nikita Zadorov

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Duchene trade talks quiet, but Avs will ‘listen to offers’

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To little surprise, not much is going on in the trade market. Just ask Colorado Avalanche GM Joe Sakic.

The Denver Post’s Mike Chambers did just that, and Sakic revealed that he would still consider trading the likes of Matt Duchene … although he didn’t mention him by name.

“I will be listening to offers. Right now it’s quiet on all fronts,” Sakic said. “But I’ll listen to offers on how we can get better. I’ll never name names but I’ll sit there and if something makes sense for the way we want to go, with our team, we’ll really look at that.”

Considering that it’s mid-August, it’s not too surprising that little is happening. One can imagine that several GMs are more interested in finding drinks with umbrellas in them than trying to land Duchene, at least since the Avalanche don’t seem interested in giving him up without some serious haggling.

(And, really, the Avs would be wise to pump up Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog‘s respective trade values, anyway.)

That Denver Post story features a semi-update on Nikita Zadorov. Sakic told Chambers that the two sides agreed that a two-year deal would be best, but the “numbers” aren’t there yet. He didn’t tip his hand about how big the gap was. For what it’s worth, Sakic didn’t sound too worried about the lure of the 2018 Winter Olympics swaying Zadorov to head overseas.

While a lot of the activity circles around what hasn’t happened, the Avalanche did realize that Will Butcher officially won’t sign with them, while Colorado added a college free agent (and former Maple Leafs prospect) Dominic Toninato to their own mix.

At the moment, it doesn’t seem like something big is brewing regarding Duchene and other prominent Avs, but at least Sakic isn’t slamming the door shut on such a possibility.

Report: Marchenko the latest to join Russian powerhouse CSKA

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Following yesterday’s news that d-man Alexey Marchenko was parting ways with Toronto, reports are now suggesting Marchenko will sign a three-year deal with KHL super club CSKA Moscow.

Marchenko, 25, joined the Maple Leafs last season after being claimed off waivers from Detroit, but didn’t get much of an opportunity. He appeared in just 11 games for the Leafs, none in the playoffs.

All told appeared in 41 contests last season, scoring one goal and adding six assists. That one goal came during his brief time with the Leafs.

Yesterday, agent Dan Millstein announced Marchenko had been waived, with The Athletic later confirming he was placed on unconditional waivers — a move that would lead to the termination of his contract, and the freedom to sign elsewhere.

Enter CSKA.

The Moscow-based team is a KHL powerhouse, and has made several significant moves this offseason. Most recently, the club retained the services of Dallas forward Valeri Nichushkin, and signed former Habs d-man Nikita Nesterov and ex-Avs forward Mikhail Grigorenko.

The club also said that prized Minnesota prospect Kirill Kaprizov would remain with the team for the next three years.

CSKA also reportedly has an agreement in place with Colorado d-man Nikita Zadorov, should he fail to re-sign with the Avs. Oh yeah, Roman Lybimov also joined the team after a brief stint in Philly.

All these moves come after both the KHL and Russian hockey federation went vocal with their stated goal of keeping KHL players from leaving for North America and bringing NHL free agents back this summer, to prepare for and participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics.

 

Under Pressure: Joe Sakic

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This post is part of Avalanche Day on PHT…

In the six years that Joe Sakic has been a part of the Colorado Avalanche front office the team has qualified for the playoffs just one time. That season proved to be the outlier in what has been a pretty extensive run of mediocrity as the team has taken some significant steps backwards.

Is he under pressure in the sense that his job is in serious jeopardy? It doesn’t seem like it, because if that was the case the Avalanche probably would have already moved on in a different direction.

Under pressure in the sense that he has to start doing something significant in order to get this aimless ship headed in the right direction? Most definitely. Because when you look at the current state of the Avalanche organization it’s hard to fully understand exactly where the team is going and how it intends to get there.

They have had the NHL’s worst defense for two years running and have done little to address it.

They currently only have three defensemen under NHL contract for this season and still don’t know what the future is for Nikita Zadorov.

It almost seems as if they intended to use Matt Duchene as a trade chip to help address that position but he remains on the roster and still seems to be in some sort of limbo when it comes to his future with the team. Even more concerning is that if they do decide to trade him — or perhaps even Gabriel Landeskog or Tyson Barrie — the last time the Avalanche traded one of their core players — Ryan O'Reilly — it turned out to be a complete disaster of a trade.

At the end of the day Sakic has been involved with the Avalanche long enough that this is his team and his organization. His fingerprints are all over it. Coaches have changed. Players have changed.

The results have not. At some point that has to come back to the people responsible for assembling the roster and building the organization.

Which front office inspires least confidence among fans? The Avs

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Over at the Hockey News this week Dom Luszczyszyn published his yearly front office confidence ranking, compiled by polling fans of the (now) 31 NHL teams to see who has their most faith in their team’s management.

And the least confidence.

After compiling more than 1,300 votes, Luszcyszyn found that fans have the least amount of confidence in the management team currently leading the Colorado Avalanche.

This, of course, probably should not be a shock given everything that has happened on the ice for the Avalanche under Joe Sakic’s watch. They have become the worst team in the league, don’t really seem to have much of a long-term plan, and currently only have three defensemen under an NHL contract for this upcoming season, while they might lose one of their top defenders (and the only piece they really have remaining from the now infamous Ryan O'Reilly trade) in Nikita Zadorov to the KHL if they can’t come to terms with him on a new contract. Then there is the fact nobody seems to know what is going to happen with forwards Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog long-term.

Will Butcher, one of their top defense prospects, is also unlikely to sign with the team and is set to be an unrestricted free agent on Aug. 15.

So. Yeah. Not a lot of positive things happening there.

The Nashville Predators come in first in the survey, which sounds about right. The Predators were in the Stanley Cup Final this past season and have set themselves up for long-term success with some fantastic contracts to core players.

The Pittsburgh Penguins, coming off of their second straight Stanley Cup victory, are second.

You can read the entire survey here.

Avalanche reportedly settle with Nieto, avoiding arbitration

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Matt Nieto won’t need his arbitration hearing on Monday.

According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, Nieto has agreed to a one-year, $1 million contract with the Colorado Avalanche.

Nieto split last season between San Jose and Colorado, which claimed him off waivers in January.

In 43 games for the Avalanche, the 24-year-old forward scored seven goals with four assists.

Nieto was the only Colorado player on this summer’s arbitration list. However, the Avs still have a restricted free agent in Nikita Zadorov, who could be off to the KHL next season.