Overtime With BSC: Who Won the Duchene Trade?

In a move that shook up the landscape of the NHL, a rare three-way trade took place Sunday night that saw the Matt Duchene-saga in Colorado end. Duchene was traded mid-game to the Ottawa Senators. The Senators in turn traded away Kyle Turris to the Nashville Predators as well as their first and third-round draft picks, 2017 first-round draft pick Shane Bowers and goaltender Andrew Hammond to the Avalanche. Joe Sakic and the Avalanche also received a second-round pick, Samuel Girard and Vladislav Kamenev from the Predators.

Matt Duchene, Colorado Avalanche, NHL
The likelihood that Matt Duchene ends up with Toronto is slim to none for Colorado’s asking price. (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)

With such a big trade taking place, the discussion immediately turned to the winners and losers of the deal. As is the case whenever there’s a major transaction in professional sports, various factors play a role – it’s rare that all teams come away as big winners, but this trade seemed to appeal to just about every team involved.

Still, I reached out to a writer from the Avalanche, the Senators and the Predators to get their take on who won the trade to give readers a chance to get some added perspective from those closest to the situation. The writers chosen were Ben Nixon (Predators), Sebastian Noble (Avalanche) and Andrew DiRienzo (Senators)

The question was simple:

“Who won the three-way trade that saw Matt Duchene traded to the Senators and Kyle Turris traded to the Predators?”

Ben Nixon:

It would be easy to say that all teams involved won – Ottawa got a center that is just waiting to break out in a new setting, Colorado finally removed the black cloud hanging over their heads while piling up valuable young players, and Nashville still got their hands on a solid number two center that they have been searching for. All things considered, I think Nashville benefits the most from this trade in getting Turris.

Kyle Turris Senators
Kyle Turris (Marc DesRosiers-US PRESSWIRE)

The Predators have always had their hands in the rumors surrounding Duchene as their center depth, or lack thereof, became clear during the playoffs last year. Now, with Ryan Johansen leading the first line, Turris centering the second line, and Nick Bonino manning the third line (when healthy), the Predators have a slew of remaining centers that can rotate on the fourth line.

With Nashville coming up two games short of bringing home their first Stanley Cup championship last year, [general manager] David Poile made it clear that he wants to win sooner rather than later and that is no better demonstrated than his addressing of the Predators depth issues. Probably the most important aspect of acquiring Turris is that he will be sticking around for six years rather than coming to Nashville as a one-year rental.

The lengthy contract makes losing defenseman Girard more manageable as he had been generating a lot of buzz in Nashville with his impressive play so far this season. While it may sting at first, the Predators have demonstrated they are more than capable of generating home-grown defensive talent so I highly doubt Girard will be the last highly talented defenseman the Predators see. All in all, Turris provides Nashville center depth and scoring for that matter, that might be the tipping point to elevate the Predators to the top.

Sebastian Noble:

This was a trade that has been in the works for quite some time. Joe Sakic mentioned the Ottawa Senators have held an interest in Matt Duchene since last season, and the same can be said with the Nashville Predators’ interest in Kyle Turris. It looks like every team got what they wanted in the end, so you cannot really declare a winner right off the bat here. For now, all three teams won and are happy, which means it was an excellent hockey trade. However, down the line is a different story entirely, especially from an Avalanche standpoint.

Matt Duchene Avalanche
Matt Duchene, Colorado Avalanche, Nov. 4, 2017 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Yes, Ottawa and Nashville acquired top line centers, but the Avs played their hand well, holding out for the best offer, and they got a doozy. First and foremost they traded away a player who did not want to be part of the team any longer.That alone is going to help the Avs on and off the ice. They ended up acquiring three solid prospects in Samuel Girard, Vladislav Kamenev, and Shane Bowers, plus three draft picks(1st and 2nd in the very deep 2018 draft), along with Andrew Hammond.

Girard will step right in and immediately have a positive impact on Colorado’s suspect defense. The kid should be a top 4 defenseman for years to come. Kamenev and Bowers also look to be keepers for the bright future in Denver. Add to that a first and second round pick in 2018 with a third rounder in 2019, and you can see why most Avalanche fans are pretty excited.

Don’t ask me where Andrew Hammond fits in, if kept he can provide solid goaltending depth in San Antonio. Colorado should definitely “win” this trade down the road, maybe even sooner than that if Girard has a tremendous rookie season.

(Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Hats off to Joe Sakic – who was previously taking serious heat whilst biding his time on any possible Duchene trade – for sticking to his asking price, and ultimately putting the Avalanche organization in a better position to succeed in the future.

Andrew DiRienzo:

If I had to pick a winner – which, since I’m taking part in this discussion, I apparently do – the Colorado Avalanche were the biggest winners of all, though I think every team won (more on that below).

The Predators were lacking for depth at center, the result of Mike Fisher’s retirement after last season. The move for Turris addresses exactly that as he gives the Predators three great options down the middle, along with Ryan Johansen and Nick Bonino, and his six-year contract gives him and the team some long-term security.

Nashville Predators forward Ryan Johansen
Nashville Predators forward Ryan Johansen (Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)

The Predators sit outside the playoff picture (yes, it’s early) with 16 points but even more concerning is the fact they sit in the bottom third in goals scored. With an elite shot and great playmaking ability, Turris should help the Predators climb back up the ranks.

The Senators got the obvious win for finally convincing Joe Sakic to muster up the courage and intestinal fortitude to deal his prized pivot. But almost as important for the Sens is they were able to turn a negative – Turris’s increasingly hopeless contract situation – into an asset who makes the Sens a bigger threat in the East.

Matt Duchene Colorado Avalanche Ottawa Senators
Matt Duchene (Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports)

An encouraging sign for the Sens is the way Duchene spoke about his lack of a playoff resume and the desperation he seems to have to get to the postseason. With two years left on his deal, Duchene and the Sens should be able to get a lot from each other on that front.

But, as mentioned, the biggest winners here are the Avalanche and their patience, which finally paid off after years of speculation and hoopla surrounding a potential Duchene deal. They didn’t get either of Colin White or Thomas Chabot – at least one of whom, it was assumed, had to be included in the deal – but they still got a pretty good haul in Shane Bowers, Samuel Girard and Vladislav Kamenev (along with three picks).


While all three teams could be considered winners in the deal, the Colorado Avalanche stand out above the pack as the clear big winners of the trade. It’s often said that the team who trades away the best player will undoubtedly lose a deal. Credit to Sakic and the Avalanche for trading the best player in the deal and still arguably coming away as the biggest winners given the number of assets they were able to assemble in the process.

Still, the Senators were able to get a very good center (and the best player in the deal) while the Predators were able to bolster their top-six center group as well. Every general manager involved in this deal should be feeling pretty good about themselves this morning.