Elliotte Friedman Links Avalanche to Multiple Coyotes Players

The Hockey Writers

The 2024 Trade Deadline is two weeks away, and action has been ramping up daily. Rumors of players linked and connected to different teams have many speculating and making mock trades of what it could cost to get that player to bolster their chances of winning a Stanley Cup. The Colorado Avalanche are 35-18-5 on the season and are continuing their pursuit of another Stanley Cup with how their stars have been playing. Nathan MacKinnon has been superb with his point streak at home and second in league scoring, while Cale Makar has been relatively quiet after the All-Star Break but is still second in points by a defenseman.

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Whether it is a second-line center to provide a boost to the offense or a “1B” goaltender to help ease the load off Alexander Georgiev down the stretch and be a confident backup in the playoffs, the Avalanche could look to make moves at the deadline to increase their odds. Insider Elliotte Friedman from Sportsnet’s 32 Thoughts mentions the Avalanche thinking about some players from the Arizona Coyotes.

“Colorado’s search for a centre may take the Avs through Arizona. They know Alex Kerfoot, and could also consider Nick Bjugstad. Another Coyote name to watch is Michael Carcone, who was red-hot earlier in the season. He’s got 15 goals. “ 

The Avalanche recognize their need for another top-six center with Ryan Johansen’s lack of production this season. Looking at the names Friedman mentioned, how are each of these players playing in Arizona, and how would they fit in the Avs’ system if acquired? Let’s see.

Alex Kerfoot: Left Wing, Centre, Right Wing

Many remember Alex Kerfoot from being signed out of college from the University of Harvard and turning out well for them with his short time with the Avalanche. In his two seasons there, he recorded over 40 points and would eventually be traded for Nazem Kadri from the Toronto Maple Leafs. After playing through his four-year, $14 million contract extension with the Maple Leafs, he did not re-sign with the team and signed a two-year, $7 million contract with the Coyotes last offseason.

Alex Kerfoot Arizona Coyotes
Alex Kerfoot, Arizona Coyotes (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Kerfoot, on the season, has eight goals and 24 assists for 32 points; he started the season slow but picked up the pace considerably to finish 2023. He has cooled off in the new year with four points in his last 10 games. He might not be a household name, but he is a talented playmaker who has a solid cap hit of $3.5 million this season and next who could provide 40-50 points in this Avalanche system. The Avalanche’s 2024 third-round pick could be sufficient for Kerfoot considering his play plus the extra year on his contract.

Michael Carcone: Left Wing, Right Wing

Michael Carcone is an exciting piece who really catches my eye and could be cheap to acquire. The 5-foot-10, 27-year-old winger is having a career season, with 15 goals and five assists for 20 points in 49 games. Carcone has never been able to get into the Coyotes’ lineup the past couple of seasons, as he has bounced between the NHL and the American Hockey League and only played 30 total games with the Coyotes until this season. Even with his goal-scoring being so high, he is in a rough patch, being on an eight-game pointless streak and his last goal coming against the Nashville Predators on Jan. 1.

Related: Avalanche’s Top 5 Assets at the 2024 NHL Trade Deadline

Carcone signed a two-year, $1.5 million contract this past offseason with a cap hit of $775,000. Whether he can get back to his goal-scoring ways with Arizona before the trade deadline could be a factor in him being moved. The upside is there, and I wouldn’t be shocked if it takes a fourth-rounder to acquire him, but he’s an exciting player to keep your eyes on.

Nick Bjugstad: Centre, Right Wing

Nick Bjugstad is a player I didn’t think the Avalanche would look at, but with his current play this season, the potential could be another addition to the bottom six. His offensive production has been solid with 12 goals and 18 assists for 30 points, his highest point production since the 2017-2018 season when he was on the Florida Panthers, and he finished with a career-high of 49 points. Coming in at 6-foot-6, his game is very similar to Kerfoot’s, except for the height difference, and he is better in the faceoff dot. This season, he has a 49.7% Faceoff win percentage with more than 460 faceoff wins (ranked 23rd in the league.)

Nick Bjugstad Arizona Coyotes
Nick Bjugstad, Arizona Coyotes (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

This offseason, he signed with the Coyotes on a two-year contract with an average annual value of $2.1 million. He is a solid, underrated skater at his height and is comfortable laying the body any time he can. Being able to play center and right wing opens the door to many lineups he can form. Currently playing on the second line with the Coyotes, his role could be in the bottom six or even on the second line with Miles Wood and Ross Colton. Again, I’m considering his play and cap hit similar to Kerfoot’s return of next year’s third-rounder or this year’s fourth-rounder and lower-end prospect for a rental.

Two Weeks Heading to Trade Deadline Will Be Interesting

The final two weeks before the deadline will be interesting. The Avalanche have looked better since coming off the break, but obviously, cracks are still showing in places that a trade can help with. Kerfoot and Bjugstad are two interesting pieces that many could see happening; personally, I see Bjugstand as the more likely player to be acquired, but time will tell if these players are what the Avalanche believe are needed for team success.

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