NHL News & Notes: McDavid, Duchene & More

In today’s News & Notes, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety has suspended Connor McDavid for two games, the Ottawa Senators have traded Matt Duchene and the Washington Capitals have acquired Nick Jensen and extended his contract.

Related: NHL News & Notes: Hagelin, Kadri & More

McDavid Suspended

The NHL has suspended McDavid two games for an illegal check to the head of New York Islanders’ defender Nick Leddy. As a result of this suspension, McDavid is also forced to forfeit $134,408.60.

Edmonton Oilers Connor McDavid
Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

The suspension comes just one day after the incident took place. The NHL described the incident as noted below:

As the video shows, McDavid is back-checking through center as the Islanders enter the zone on the rush. The puck is moved to Leddy who bobbles the puck briefly before chipping the puck deep into the Oilers zone. As he releases the puck, McDavid comes in front of Leddy’s body, clips Leddy’s head with his shoulder, making the head the main point of contact on a hit where such head contact was avoidable.

This is an illegal check to the head.

It is important to note that both factors of the illegal check to the head rule are met on this hit. First, the head is the main point of contact. Second, the head contact on this play is avoidable.

This is McDavid’s first suspension in his career. It’s rare to see superstar players get suspended so this is a nice change of pace for the NHL.

Duchene Traded to Blue Jackets

For the second consecutive year, Duchene has been traded for a huge return that has created a shockwave around the NHL. The Columbus Blue Jackets acquired Duchene and defender Julius Bergman from the Senators in exchange for their 2019 first-round draft pick (top three protected), 2020 first-round pick (if Duchene re-signs in Columbus) as well as forward Vitaly Abramov and Jonathan Davidsson.

Matt Duchene Ottawa Senators
Ottawa Senators center Matt Duchene could give the Blue Jackets a top-six boost. (Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports)

Duchene is having the best season of his career and has scored 27 goals and 58 points in just 50 games this season. A long-term extension for him will undoubtedly be costly for the Blue Jackets but the high price they paid makes it likely that the team will put forth their best effort to get it done at some point prior to July 1.

The Blue Jackets were a team that was already set to be heavily watched this deadline season given the fact that Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky appear to be on the outs with the team. Now, the Blue Jackets have become one of the biggest buyers of the deadline rather than the biggest seller.

Jensen Traded to Capitals, Extended

The Detroit Red Wings have traded Jensen and a fifth-round draft pick in 2019 to the Capitals in exchange for Madison Bowey and a second-round pick in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft.

Nick Jensen Red Wings
Nick Jensen, Detroit Red Wings, December 20, 2017 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Within hours of the deal, the Capitals would sign their newly-acquired defender to a four-year deal worth $10 million. This new deal carries an annual cap hit of $2.5 million and solidifies Jensen’s spot in the Capitals’ lineup as more than just a depth addition.

The Capitals were in need of an upgrade on defense and Jensen was the logical option for them. This contract makes the value of the trade package stand out even more.