DENVER — That's (a) haul, folks.
The Avalanche ultimately got D Sam Girard, F Vladislav Kamenev, F Shane Bowers, G Andrew "The Hamburglar" Hammond, G Justus Annunen, D Danila Zhuravlyov, D Bowen Byram and F Matthew Stienburg. The Ottawa Senators got F Matt Duchene (and the Predators, the third team, got F Kyle Turris).
It was an 8-for-1 (plus-1) extravaganza. At last, it's a wrap.
The last branch of the trade tree fell at 12:32 p.m. on Saturday afternoon: the Avs used a third-round pick (the final pick from the Duchene deal) to draft Stienburg, an 18-year-old center from Halifax, Nova Scotia — 595 days after the trade was made.
On Nov. 5, 2017, when Joe Sakic and the Avs granted Duchene’s wish and sent him to the moon, Ottawa, one headline read: "Did the Avalanche receive enough for Matt Duchene?"
Enough is enough. Eight is enough. There's no more room at the inn. With Dutchy on the trade block once again, this time with the Blue Jackets, we can call it for good: Avs won, Avs won.
(Funny thing is, Duchene would be an ideal fit for this Avalanche roster. And imagine the drama!)
He’s no average Joe, and this was no average trade. Thanks to the GM, Avs maniacs now can dream of a top defensive pairing of Cale Makar and Bowen Byram — the No. 4 overall draft picks in 2017 and 2019, respectively. Makar, 20, is the next big thing in Colorado sports. (On the air with Altitude 92.5 FM in Denver, analyst Jeremy Roenick compared Makar to Edmonton superstar Connor McDavid.) Byram, 18, was the consensus top defenseman available in the NHL entry draft that began Friday and closed Saturday in Vancouver.
"If he was available we were taking him," Sakic said to reporters in British Columbia.
Sakic, a hometown hero in nearby Burnaby, told the crowd at Rogers Center, "Always good to be home." Byram, who plays for the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League, said he considers it "a second home." I call it my favorite city in North America. Fish the Squamish in May for trout as long as your leg.
"He's got some bite," Sakic said about Byram.
After going defense with its first pick of the first round — courtesy the Duchene trade, of course — the Avalanche took forward Alex Newhook at No. 16. He’s another baby-faced 18-year-old.
Want to feel old? Watch the NHL draft. Every pick looks like he has driver's ed in the morning. Their average age is underage. Bowen Byram’s boy band is dropping the album “Baby Don’t Cry” soon.
And these pain-resistant mercenaries are the sweetest little brothers you'll ever see. In a Q&A with the NHL, the draftees were asked to finish a sentence: “Not a lot of people know that I...”
Alex Newhook answered: "... have a sister who is better than me at hockey." Wish I had been that nice to my sister at that age. Mom and Dad would’ve never had to turn this car around.
This should be the last time in a long time the Avs pick that high — No. 4 or 16. And it won’t be long before the blue line goes Makar (No. 4 in '17), Byram (No. 4 in '19), Sam Girard (No. 47 in '16) and Connor Timmins (No. 32 in '17) — a foursome of first- and second-rounders. What was considered a weakness soon will be considered the strength.
"I think from the back end we’re going to have some guys that can push the play," Sakic said.
The Avs traded Duchene in the middle of a game. Now, after drafting Byram at No. 4, it seems a foregone conclusion they will trade Tyson Barrie in the middle of the summer, assuming we have one (a summer, not a trade).
"There's no rush. We don't have to do anything. We like the group we’ve got," Sakic told Adrian Dater of ColoradoHockeyNow.com. "But we're in the business of trying to make ourselves better. It's going to be a busy next 10 days."
Matt Holliday for Carlos Gonzalez. Allen Iverson for Chauncey Billups. Chris Hinton, Mark Herrmann and a draft pick for John Elway. Matt Duchene for a table of eight. It's a wrap.