With a 6-9-1 record one month into the 2015-2015 NHL regular season, the Colorado Avalanche find themselves at the very bottom of an extremely competitive central division. Each loss makes this summer’s draft lottery more of a realistic possibility over making the postseason and this is a position both Joe Sakic and Patrick Roy were hoping not to be in this early.
Consistent disappointing performances in professional sports always leads to trade speculation, and things are no different for Colorado. According to various sources throughout the league, the Avalanche very Nathan MacKinnon as the only untouchable member of the franchise. This news has once again started up that wonderful rumor mill with Colorado’s star center, Matt Duchene, receiving all of the attention.
Currently in his seventh season with the Avalanche, Duchene has been everything the team could ask for and still has plenty of great hockey left in him. In 435 games, Duchene has tallied 133 goals and 196 assists.
As one would imagine, every other franchise in the NHL would love to acquire this guy and Sakic should expect his phone to be ringing nonstop until a deal gets made or he changes his mind. Although every team would love to add Duchene, the list of potential landing spots for the young center is a little small than 29 teams.
According the various reports, the Senators have made their interest in acquiring Duchene known and have apparently started discussing would a possible deal might look like. Currently sitting in second place in the Atlantic Division behind Montreal, the Senators are still in need of a number-one center. Both Kyle Turris and Mika Zibanejad are quality players but adding Duchene into the mix would make Ottawa’s group of centers one of the best in the league. Placing Duchene on a line with Bobby Ryan would result in an immediate positive impact which could lead to the Senators making a deep run in the postseason.
Colorado seems to be in the market for quality defensemen and Ottawa could help them out. Players such as Cody Ceci, Jared Cowen, and Patrick Wiercioch could be used as possible trade chips. Personally, I do not think that Sakic would go for acquiring just one of these guys for Duchene so the Senators would have to add a little something to sweeten the deal.
Similar to the Ottawa Senators, the Predators would definitely benefit from adding a true top line center to their organization. Currently sitting in fourth place in the Central Division, Nashville has its eyes set of the postseason this spring. Adding Duchene would most certainly help the cause as he would replace Mike Fisher on the first line. Fisher is a valuable asset to the Predators but he could benefit from a lesser workload.
Nashville is one of the strongest teams in the league in terms of defense. This could mean that they could have the trade chips necessary to spark the interest of the Avalanche. However, it is unclear what the Predators would be willing to part ways with.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Once again, the Maple Leafs stink-on-ice and are in the midst of a rebuild. Acquiring Duchene from Colorado would provide Toronto with an excellent number one center who can serve as a leader and a mentor to all of the young prospect who will be making their way to the big leagues in the next few seasons. In order for the Leafs to successfully go through the rebuilding stage, they need to shed some of the awful contracts they have managed to acquire throughout the years. Would the Avalanche have any interest in Dion Phaneuf? They need defense and the guy can provide that for sure. Toronto would love to get this guy off of their books but it is hard to imagine that any team would take him without the Maple Leafs eating some of the salary.
In my opinion, it is highly unlikely that these two teams can come to a deal that worked out for both sides equally. However, it cannot go unnoticed that the Leafs would seriously benefit from adding a player like Duchene to their roster.
Similar to the Maple Leafs, the Flyers are having an extremely rough go of it to start the season. The orange and black are seriously struggling in almost every aspect of the game. With little to no production from their key players, Philadelphia needs to find someone who can put up some points. The team already has their number one center in captain Claude Giroux but adding Duchene into the mix would definitely start to right the ship for a team that is not used to too many losing seasons.
General Manager, Ron Hextall, has drafted an abundance of talented defensive prospects throughout the years. It is expected that Philadelphia could possibly have the league’s best defensive core if all of these young men reach their potential. However, defense is only one aspect of the game and the Flyers need players who can score goals. It is unclear if Hextall would be willing to do so but Philadelphia does have the pieces necessary to at least participate in trade talks.
Trade speculation is always a fickle beast. We can go on for days, weeks, and sometimes even months discussing possible landing spots for players supposedly on the trade block. More often than not, all of the hype and rumors materialize into nothing. It is still very likely that Duchene remains with Colorado but it can’t be ignored that both sides could benefit from a change of scenery. All of the teams mentioned above (including many others) would love to add number nine to their roster. For now, we are going to have to just wait and see what happens.
John Gove is an elementary school educator who writes about hockey in his spare team. Over the past five years, John has covered the game at various levels. Now, he exclusively focuses his coverage on prospects and the developmental leagues.