Going into today’s trade deadline, the Colorado Avalanche figured to be very busy moving ineffective pieces out to rebuild. While the parent club made just two deals–one that indirectly impacts the Rampage– before the 3pm deadline, they did make an additional three deals that directly impact the Rampage.
Jarome Iginla to the Los Angeles Kings for a conditional 4th round draft pick in 2018
With Iginla moving on to chase a cup that won’t be there, the Avs needed to replace the future hall-of-famer. For now, that falls on the shoulders of J.T. Compher. Compher has had an impressive rookie season in San Antonio, putting up 13g-17a-30pts in 41 games played. Compher was routinely the best player on the ice for the Rampage and should pay immediate dividends
Joe Whitney to the Arizona Coyotes (read: Tucson Roadrunners) for Brendan Ranford
This was a deal that needed to be made. Whitney, the polarizing captain of the Rampage, was suffering from an inconsistent season that never saw him reach lofty preseason expectations. The 29 year old, soon-to-be unrestricted free agent (UFA), scored just 11 goals this season, adding 17 assists, playing in all 55 Rampage games this season.
Ranford comes to the Rampage after being dealt from the Dallas Stars organization to Arizona just over a month ago. The 24 year old is having a down year, scoring just 6g-11a-17pts in 46 games between the Stars and the Roadrunners-including zero points in ten games with Tucson. He did, however, score a career high 59 points last season with the Stars and has had a ton of success on the ATT Center ice. If the name seems familiar, it is. Ranford has scored 36 points against the Rampage in his career.
Cody Corbett to the Washington Capitals (read: Hershey Bears…maybe) for Joe Cannata
Cody Corbett was a true enigma to me. He produced pretty good offensive numbers for a defenseman in his time in San Antonio, scoring five goals and adding 14 assists over two seasons with the Rampage (46 games). His play, or lack thereof, in how own end was what likely got him traded today. He struggles defensively, and was even used as a LW for a couple of games this season when the injury bug struck the team.
Cannata is a journeyman goalie, probably brought in to add to the depth lost when Nathan Lieuwen went down with an injury. The 27 year old has 110 AHL games under his belt, playing with Chicago, Utica, and Hershey. His numbers look less than good this season, but he is a serviceable AHL backup. I’m not sure what the plan is as of tonight, but one of Cannata or Simpson will likely head to ECHL Colorado to assist in their season of destiny.
Mike Sislo loaned to the Toronto Marlies. In return, Colin Smith sent to San Antonio
In one of those deals that can only exist in the AHL, the Avalanche sent Mike Sislo to the Marlies for the rest of his contract. Sislo, was signed in July coming off a 2016 season that saw him score 27 goals, a league leading 14 of which came on the power play. To say he didn’t live up to expectations would be a massive understatement. Sislo never seemed comfortable with the Rampage scoring just six goals this season. Frustration seemed to set in early on and his production dropped off and he never recovered.
In return for the “favor”, former Rampage center Colin Smith was back to San Antonio for “Future Considerations”. For those unfamiliar with that term, future considerations, in almost cases, means absolutely nothing. In this case, the Marlies will get Sislo who, despite his issues here, is a dangerous scorer for their playoff run. Smith, meanwhile, returns to San Antonio after being traded away at last year’s trade deadline for Shawn Matthias. The 23 year old center has put up decent numbers this season (8g-20a) in 52 games with the Marlies. He should have no problem replacing Whitney’s production and plays center which the Rampage desperately need with Compher’s departure.
Losing Compher hurts as he was, on most nights, the Rampage’s most effective all-around player.
If Ranford can rebound to his pre-2017 self, he can replace what Sislo’s production. Ranford is terrific on the power play and plays a gritty two-way game that should endear him to Rampage fans.
Corbett for Cannata is a non-event. Corbett was an afterthought in this organization and Cannata may see a handful of games if he stays in the AHL.
Smith was a fan favorite when he was traded away and will instantly pick up where he left off. He is a dynamic offensive playmaker and should fit right in with this system. Put with the right players, he could see an increase in production.
When Whitney was on, he was really good. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen often enough and the big free agency splash of 2016 is now a distant memory.
Overall, the team got more likable, but the offense will probably stay about the same. Really good on some nights, and hard to watch on others. The defense is still a mess, though, and the goaltending just isn’t good enough to make up for it. The 2017 season was decided during the winless nine game Rodeo Road Trip. The moves the Avs/Rampage made today won’t change any of that, but it may just make going to hockey games fun again.