Duchene Traded to Blue Jackets

The Ottawa Senators have traded Matt Duchene and Julius Bergman to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for Vitaly Abramov, Jonathan Davidsson and the Blue Jackets first-round pick in 2019, according to Pierre LeBrun. The pick is also top-three protected. Additionally, the Senators will also get the Blue Jackets first-round pick in 2020 if Duchene re-signs in Columbus.

Duchene has been one of the most highly-discussed players as far as trades go for two years now. Not only was Duchene a hot commodity in his last year with the Colorado Avalanche but his status as a pending unrestricted free agent this season made him a popular name among trade discussions this season as well.

The 28-year-old center is having a career-year in Ottawa this season with 27 goals and 58 points in 50 games. Despite the Senators attempt to re-sign him to a long-term deal, however, discussions didn’t go anywhere as the Senators’ future is so unclear. Another factor that was undoubtedly a contributor here was the salary that Duchene will command next season as the two sides likely didn’t see eye-to-eye on his actual worth.

Matt Duchene #95, Ottawa Senators
Matt Duchene #95, Ottawa Senators – February 3, 2018 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

As far as Bergman goes, the Senators acquired him as part of the deal that saw Mike Hoffman shipped off to San Jose for a brief time before he was flipped to the Florida Panthers.

The 23-year-old defender has had a down season in Belleville of the AHL as he’s recorded only six assists in 33 games. Last season, the Swedish-rearguard scored a career-high 10 goals and 20 points with the San Jose Barracuda. A change of scenery may do him good in the long-run as his stint with the Senators organization wasn’t off to the best start.

Senators Getting Strong Value in Rental Market

Though the Senators were unable to retain Duchene for their long-term plans, they did a good job of recouping value for him in Abramov, Davidsson and a first-round pick. As a rental, the Blue Jackets are taking a risk for a postseason push without any guarantee that Duchene will sign a long-term deal in Columbus.

Vitaly Abramov Cleveland Monsters
Vitaly Abramov, Cleveland Monsters, Dec. 2018 (Jenae Anderson / The Hockey Writers)

This deal works for the Senators in multiple ways as Abramov is fairly close to being NHL-ready at only 20 years old and absolutely dominated the QMJHL in his three seasons with the Gatineau Olympiques (and briefly the Victoriaville Tigres). In 56 games last season, Abramov scored 45 goals and 104 points, including 33 goals and 78 points in 40 games with the Tigres alone following a trade.

In his first professional season in the AHL, Abramov has scored 12 goals and 22 points in 52 games. He’d also play in four games in the AHL in 2016-17 following the completion of his season in Gatineau. Those four games were an impressive start for the winger as he’d score one goal and four points.

Davidsson also fits the bill as a nearly NHL-ready player who is still only 21 years old. The Blue Jackets’ sixth-round selection from the 2017 NHL Entry Draft has scored double-digit goals in each of the last two seasons with Djurgardens IF of the Swedish Hockey League and has been a very effective player despite the fact that he’s been matched up with far more experienced players than himself.

Marcus Davidsson and Max Jones (Photo by Dennis Pajot/Getty Images)

Another huge factor of this trade comes in the form of a first-round pick. The Senators are a team in the middle of a heavy rebuild after trading away Hoffman, Karlsson and now Duchene. Unfortunately, the Senators traded their first-round pick in 2019 to the Avalanche in the Duchene deal, leaving them without a selection in the first round this season.

Though the pick from Columbus won’t be a potential top-five pick like their own first might be, the Senators were keen on getting back into the first round one way or another. They already have their own pick in the 2020 first-round as well as the potential for both the Sharks and Blue Jackets’ picks now. The Senators are making waves and working hard to ensure this rebuild works.