Avalanche get faster with Mikkel Boedker, but defense still a concern

Avs add more speed up front with Boedker (1:10)

Scott Burnside and Joe McDonald break down the speed and skill Mikkel Boedker brings to Colorado, which acquired him in exchange for Conner Bleackley, Kyle Wood and veteran Alex Tanguay. (1:10)

The Colorado Avalanche scooped up one of the speediest forwards available when they acquired Mikkel Boedker from the Arizona Coyotes, but is it a deal that really addressed their primary need to improve defensively?

The Avs -- owners of the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference heading into a pivotal clash with the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday -- are now one of the fastest teams in the conference with Boedker joining other fleet-of-foot forwards Nathan MacKinnon and Matt Duchene.

The Avalanche power play has been skidding with just two goals in seven games, and Boedker, 26, will clearly get a chance to help out.

But the question that still plagues the Avalanche is whether they are deep enough defensively to stay with teams like the Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks -- their likeliest first-round opponents should they make the playoffs.

Of the eight Western Conference teams currently holding a playoff spot, the Avalanche are the only team with a negative goal differential (minus-9). Colorado also ranks 22nd in goals-against per game (2.83).

Part of the question about defense might have been answered soon after the Boedker deal, when it was announced that the Avs had acquired New Jersey defenseman Eric Gelinas for a third-round pick.

The Avs sent veteran Alex Tanguay, who is 36, to the Coyotes in the Boedker deal. Both Tanguay and Boedker can become unrestricted free agents this summer. Their salaries are almost identical, so the Avs are not taking on more salary or term while improving their offensive potential.

The Coyotes also got a couple of prospects in Conner Bleackley -- a 2014 first-round pick (23rd overall) by the Avs who is still playing major junior hockey in the Western Hockey League -- and defenseman Kyle Wood, who is also still playing juniors and was a 2014 third-round pick (84th overall) by the Avs.

If you said you could get a first-round pick and a third-round pick for Boedker, that would be a pretty good return. But do you really want former first- and third-round picks that another team deems expendable?