In today’s Rumor Rundown, we take yet another look at the situation in Colorado where Matt Duchene is still skating at training camp but is clearly waiting for the trade everyone is expecting. The only problem is, despite a number of new teams in on the action, no one seems confident they’re offering the right pieces since Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic isn’t budging.
Here is the latest on Duchene and where he might be headed.
Everyone Is Getting in on Duchene
TSN Insider, Darren Dreger is reporting that as many as eight teams have now reached out to the Colorado Avalanche about the disgruntled center. These teams include the consistently present Columbus Blue Jackets along with franchises like the Montreal Canadiens, Calgary Flames, Vancouver Canucks, Los Angeles Kings, and Nashville Predators. The Jackets are still the favorites and perhaps the only team offering anything close to what the Avs consider a deal they’d be comfortable with.
Ottawa Senators Frustrated
Dreger specifically mentioned general manager, Pierre Dorion of the Ottawa Senators, as frustrated because he has been among the more aggressive suitors but feels like his efforts are getting him nowhere. Dorion seems to think Sakic and other teams are simply playing the waiting game with the hopes that someone will realize training camp is almost over and a move needs to be made to rid the Avalanche of the distraction that is this pending Duchene trade.
Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun has backed up Dreger’s reports and says he doubts the Senators are in the running for Duchene. Even though the Senators have shown interest in prior years, Codi Ceci (who Garrioch believes was the player being offered) is a big part of the plans for the Senators future and Dorion is not keen to move him. Because the Avs want a defenseman plus more pieces, that’s simply too steep a price for the Sens.
Chris Nichols tweeted that Bob McKenzie believes the Avs would be looking at Thomas Chabot and the Sens aren’t remotely interested if that’s the case.
Nashville Not Willing
If the asking price for Duchene is a top-four defenseman, the Predators certainly have one, but not one they’re willing to part with. The Preds have arguably the best top-four blue line in the NHL and despite some players hearing that P.K. Subban could have been part of a trade for Duchene, that isn’t likely.
That would be a blockbuster, but Elliotte Friedman warns that people should potentially cool their jets on this deal. Friedman explains:
First, with Ryan Ellis out until Christmas, the Predators are not dealing any of their other elite defenders. Second, from what I understand, it’s entirely possible Colorado inquired about all four of Ellis, Subban, Mattias Ekholm and Roman Josi. It’s Nashville’s biggest strength, and you can’t blame the Avalanche for asking. Asking, however, is a lot different than acquiring. The defending Western Conference champions won’t gut themselves to get him.”
Canucks Definitely Out
Speaking of Friedman, the Sportsnet Insider has also ruled out the Canucks with near certainty as he believes the combination of Duchene and a rebuilding team in Vancouver just doesn’t make sense. Duchene will hit free agency in only a couple of years and the Canucks would have to know that they can flip him later for a healthy return or understand that he’s interested in signing an extension before they acquire him.
If the asking price is as steep as people believe it is, the Canucks can’t really profit on that type of asset movement.
Blue Jackets Have the Best Offer
Right now, it appears the Columbus Blue Jackets have the most to offer and many are starting to wonder if the contract negotiations presently happening with the Jackets and Josh Anderson might play a factor. Since Anderson and the Jackets can’t seem to get on the same page, would a Ryan Murray and Anderson deal to the Avs be enough to get Sakic to finally budge?
The Jackets seem to be hoping that the best offer Sakic is going to see has already come his way and that the time will come when the Avs want to just move forward.
Montreal Doesn’t Have the Assets
The Canadiens would surely love to be in on Matt Duchene, but many believe they simply don’t have the pieces to make the deal work. Darren Dreger explains:
Marc Bergevin of course would have interest in Matt Duchene, that hasn’t changed. The problem that the Montreal Canadiens have is who on their defense are they willing to give up. They don’t have that right piece that is going to get a deal done or be part of a deal that gets done.
Jim Parsons is a senior THW freelance writer, part-time journalist and audio/video host who lives, eats, sleeps and breathes NHL news and rumors, while also writing features on the Edmonton Oilers. He’s been a trusted source for five-plus years at The Hockey Writers, but more than that, he’s on a mission to keep readers up to date with the latest NHL rumors and trade talk. Jim is a daily must for readers who want to be “in the know.”