When you think of the Colorado Avalanche, you think Matt Duchene.
Duchene is a top line center who can play all three forward positions at a high level. He’s a consistent threat on the ice, dominates the face-off circle, and on top of that, he is signed long-term to a very friendly contract for the team. Duchene could’ve gone the “Ryan O’Reilly route” and held out for maximum payment, which would’ve been well north of $7million per year.
Instead, he chose to sign an even $6 million per year deal with the team he loves. Which also shows he wants to win, he knows that extra 1-2 million dollars per year really helps the Avalanche out each year. So why is he being rumored to be on the block?
It Doesn’t Make Sense
However good Duchene has been on and off the ice for Colorado, we keep hearing that Joe Sakic may be willing to deal Duchene. It just doesn’t make good hockey sense to trade one of, if not your best player. You remove Duchene from the lineup and all you have left at center is Nathan MacKinnon and Carl Soderberg. Soderberg is a great third line center, not a second line one. So who do you find to replace Duchene that is not only better overall, but also on the same sort of contract, in a cap world where every penny counts?
If the Avalanche can pull that off, then hats off to them, but it seems logical to keep Duchene and watch him continue to grow. There aren’t really any hard rumors out there besides the fact that Sakic did basically say no one should be considered safe. There is much more traction, probability, and logic in the Tyson Barrie rumors.
Joe Sakic said after drafting Nathan MacKinnon that he was very excited with having Duchene and MacKinnon down the middle for the future of the organization. I expect he’ll stick to that, it’s nuts not to. Unless of course, you get a deal no one can pass up that instantly improves the team for the better. I just don’t see a team offering enough value for what Duchene brings to the Avalanche night in, night out. In what was considered a poor showing last season, Duchene still put up 30 goals and 29 assists while finishing third overall in face-off percentage. That’s a very balanced player, one you want to hold on to.
Disappointed by not making the playoffs again, Duchene set out to Russia to join Team Canada for the IIHF World Championship. He brought home gold for the second straight year, playing a huge role in Canada’s top-six, notching 5 goals and 5 assists in 10 games, tying him for 6th in tournament scoring. A perfectly balanced ratio of goals/assists, just as he did in Denver(pretty much).
These players don’t grow on trees. After having to part ways with Paul Stastny and O’Reilly in recent years, there’s no room for error anymore considering the center position. Duchene and MacKinnon must be the ones who are counted on to lead the new era of Avalanche hockey. They certainly have everything going for them, so why ruin that?
If you think about it, you know that Sakic should be listening to all calls on whoever, or else he’s simply not doing his job. With all the plus marks that come with Duchene, it’s extremely hard to envision him and Colorado parting ways in a trade that benefits the team.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying he should be considered un-tradeable, but damn near close to it.
Joe Sakic has told Mike Chambers that Barrie will NOT be traded after all, squashing all of the experts’ rumors. For now.
Avalanche NOT trading D Tyson Barrie, GM Joe Sakic tells me. LT deal preferred for RFA, or arbitration. “Either way, he’ll be here” – Sakic
— Mike Chambers (@MikeChambers) June 16, 2016
Sebastian Noble is currently in his third year with The Hockey Writers covering the Colorado Avalanche and Florida Panthers. Liverpool, England, and of course Colorado Avalanche & Florida Panthers supporter. You can follow him on Twitter @SebastianHNoble