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Avalanche rebuild under way Written by Seymour Buttz - March 24th, 2012

As has been the case all season, the Colorado Avalanche are proving to be the biggest movers and shakers leading up to the trade deadline. With the March 26th deadline fast approaching the Colorado Avalanche decided to get to the dirty work a few days ealry pulling off 4 deals that change the dynamic of this club. 

The day began with a fairly significant deal with the division rivals the Calgary Flames as they dealt recently acquired d man Jonathan Ericsson and prospect defenceman jonathan Racine to cowtown for young d man Erik Gustafsson and former 2nd rounder and prospect Tyler Wotherspoon. The deal marks a significant signal that this team is committed to rebuilding from the ground up as Gustafsson is sure to be a top 6 d man soon and Wotherspoon is a prospect who could one day also be a top 6, but this deal obviously is a futre deal for the Avs as it does nothing for them right now.

A few minutes later the two teams once again hooked up and the Avs did the Flames a bit of a favour by taking d man Colin White off their hands for cap purposes for minor league d man Craig Schira who was now redundant with the acquisition of Gustafsson. The Avalanche will also receive the Ottawa 7th in the upcoming 2012 draft in the deal. 

The biggest deal was yert to come though as the Avalanche then pulled off a deal with the Boston Bruins to acquire former CMHL Norris trophy winner Brad Stuart. The price was high but has now made the top 4 of the Avalanche very formidable. Goin to Boston in the deal is veteran d man marek Zidlicky, forward Teemu Hartikainen and the NYI 3rd round pick in 2012. The deal was shocking in two way, the fact that Boston dealt Staurt but also the fact that the Avalanche gave up Hartikainen, who has been GM Bill Kellett's favourite players.

"This was a tough one to make for sure. Marek performed well for us and we really appreciated his contributuion, but we had to act on this. Its not often you get a former Norris winner and former All Star on your team. Losing Hartikainen was heartbreaking for me as hes a kid i worked really hard to acquire and to develop and really feel he has a bright future, but with a top 4 defence of Jackman, Wideman, Redden an now Stuart i challenge any teams to beat a top 4 like that. Im sure there are some, but it is very rare." 

The Avalanche ended off the day with a rather peculiar deal sending forward Eric Fehr to Philadelphia for Victor Tihkonov and Maxim Gratchev. This deal is a low risk high reward deal for the Avs as they lose Fehr's salary and gain a prospect who may or may not come back to North America. If he doesnt, they havent lost anything as there were no plans to re-sign Fehr anyway and can use the cap space, if Tihkonov does come back then they have a former 1st round pick with upside. The Flyers also get a conditional 5th rounder if Tihkonov makes a decision on his future prior to the draft. 

All and all a busy day for the Avs and one that has signified change to an organization desperately needing a rebuild. 

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