NHL trade news: Avalanche clear more cap space for free agency by dealing Carl Soderberg

Colorado is shaking up its bottom six.

The Avalanche have traded forward Carl Soderberg to the Coyotes for a third-round pick and defenseman Kevin Connauton, the team announced Tuesday.

Soderberg is coming off a career year with the Avalanche in which he scored 23 goals and added 26 assists for Colorado, but there were significant stretches throughout the year where the team struggled to score at all after their top line left the ice.

Colorado has needed to address their depth of scoring and some of that could involve simply moving on from some of last year’s depth, even if it was productive on paper as Soderberg was.

At the same time, the team has discussed trading defenseman Tyson Barrie as well, so the Avalanche appear to be attempting to make drastic changes to their blue line, too.

Cale Makar came up and made an immediate impact in the playoffs on the blue line and the team drafted defenseman Bowen Byram with the No. 4 pick as well, so the potential addition of Connauton may have something to do with their work on defense.

Connauton, 29, scored one goal and added nine assists in 50 games for Arizona last season. He also has only one year remaining on his deal, so Colorado could have some flexibility there as well.

The deal also clears $4 million from the Avalanche’s cap this year as Soderberg is in the final year of a five-year, $23 million deal. That gives Colorado about $38 million in cap space going into next season, according to Sportsnet.

Even with the need to re-sign restricted free agent Mikko Rantanen, Colorado will have room to add a talented player to next year’s roster.