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Colorado Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic has taken some big swings two days ahead of the 2024 NHL trade deadline. In a series of moves just minutes apart, the Avalanche acquired defenseman Sean Walker from the Philadelphia Flyers and center Casey Mittelstadt from the Buffalo Sabres.

The Avalanche's flurry of deals began when they sent a 2025 first-round pick and center Ryan Johansen to the Flyers in exchange for Walker and a 2026 fifth-round pick. Walker, 29, has been the source of much trade speculation this season because of his excellent performance on the Philadelphia blue line.

Walker has posted strong five-on-five impacts, and he is well on his way to a career year with six goals and 16 assists in 63 games.

As for the Flyers, they got a first-round pick for a pending free agent, and they immediately placed Johansen on waivers. It will be interesting to see whether any team in need of center depth picks up Johansen and his $4 million cap hit through the 2024-25 season.

The addition of Walker quickly made sense once the Avs announced their next trade, which was a true blockbuster. Colorado announced that it sent talented young defenseman Bowen Byram to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for 25-year-old center Casey Mittelstadt.

Mittelstadt, a pending restricted free agent, is having a fantastic season with 14 goals and 33 assists in 62 games. Assuming the Avalanche are able to extend Mittelstadt beyond this year, they might have solved the second-line center they've had since Nazem Kadri left in 2022.

The Sabres, on the other hand, get a former No. 4 overall pick and talented young defenseman in Byram. Byram was truly outstanding as a rookie in the 2022 playoffs, helping the Avalanche win a Stanley Cup while posting extraordinary numbers.

Since then, Byram hasn't quite been able to find that level, but the potential is certainly there. If the Sabres can help Byram find his ceiling, then they will have the best young defensive trio in the league with Rasmus Dahlin, Owen Power and Byram on the roster.

The Avalanche have already made a pair of giant splashes by cannonballing into the trade market, but the Flyers and Sabres also did some nice business by working with Colorado.