Matt Duchene: It finally happened

The saga of Matt Duchene’s trade rumors is finally over as the Ottawa Senators have officially acquired him in a three-way deal involving the Nashville Predators and the Colorado Avalanche.

To summarize, this is the return.

Matt Duchene
Matt Duchene is headed to the Senators.

Ottawa Senators receive: Matt Duchene

Nashville Predators receive: Kyle Turris

Colorado Avalanche receive: Andrew Hammond, Samuel Girard, Vladislav Kamenev, Shane Bowers, 2018 1st Round Pick (Ottawa), 2018 2nd Round Pick (Nashville) and 2018 3rd Round Pick (Ottawa)

It’s a lot of information and names right off the bat so let’s analyze this trade from each team’s perspective.

Ottawa Senators

The biggest piece of the deal is without a doubt, Matt Duchene. While Turris and Duchene are quite similar, Ottawa is banking on the fact that Matt Duchene will bounce back to his 2013-2014 season form of hitting 70 points in 71 games. In Duchene’s defense, not only has the Avalanche management treated him pretty terribly over the last year (they traded Duchene in the middle of the game vs. the Islanders), but the teams he’s played on have been pretty lackluster as well which is a large factor in his downwards trend of play. To put into perspective, he has failed to put up 60 points in the last three seasons. However, Duchene is arguably one of the best players in the NHL on the faceoff dot at 62.6% last season, which not only beat Patrice Bergeron surprisingly but was first place for players with over 1,000 faceoffs taken. Kyle Turris most likely was not going to re-sign in Ottawa as the negotiations had still been continuing up until the trade, as they could not agree on terms so this is essentially an upgrade + replacement at center. Duchene has scored 30 goals in a season as well as 47 assists in one season so it will be interesting to see what the Senators will opt to use Matt Duchene for as he can clearly run the plays and score the goals. The big problem here is what the Ottawa Senators have to give up. Not only do they give up a first-round pick in a very good draft, but also give up first round pick from last year, Shane Bowers and a third-round pick in the same year as the first. Andrew Hammond is really a non-factor and he opens up a spot for Marcus Hogberg with the Belleville Senators. I personally like the upgrade from Turris to Duchene, and this trade shows they are serious about trying to repeat their Eastern Conference Finals run from last year’s playoffs. At first glance, the offer is a little on the heavy side but only time will tell when trading prospects.

Nashville Predators

Nashville’s return in the deal is a lot more simple as they receive Kyle Turris from the Ottawa Senators and only give up Samuel Girard, Vladislav Kamenev and a 2018 2nd round pick to do so. This trade would’ve been a guaranteed loss for the Predators had he not signed with them on a 6 year, 36 million dollar contract extension which means the Predators now have two low-tier 1C’s on their top two lines in combination with Ryan Johansen. While Turris stands nowhere near Duchene’s faceoff percentage at 53.1% last season, he has managed to get very similar numbers to Duchene with his highest being a 64 point season and can still be relied upon to win a majority of his faceoffs. The Predators also like the Senators are looking to repeat their postseason performance last year, but this time are looking to finish the deed in the Stanley Cup Finals. This return is what you would expect from a team going all-in this year. The Predators are very deep on the blue-line as well as down the middle so to trade Girard and Kamenev makes perfect sense. Nashville also most likely would have used the 2nd round pick to acquire a player at the deadline, so it makes just as much sense to go all in and acquire a top 6 forward with the assets. The only problem I personally see arising from this trade is Nashville’s cap hit. The Predators will only have 250,000 dollars of cap space with Turris and while no real significant contracts end this year, this will not allow the Predators to acquire a rental at the trade deadline unless they dump a contract simultaneously. However, Pekka Rinne’s contract ends in 2 years along with Kevin Fiala’s, Pontus Aberg’s and Ryan Ellis’. 2019 will be a big year to decide who needs to be let go. If David Poile can find a way to keep this team together going into the 2019-2020 season, he may be one of the best general managers of our time.

Colorado Avalanche

As the famous saying goes, “save the best for last”. As much as people can have opinions about this deal, it must be the collective opinion that Colorado got a lot of quality assets in this deal. Losing Matt Duchene really means nothing for the Avalanche as they have made it very clear that this team is going into a rebuilding state and the return they got was far too much to pass on. From Nashville, Samuel Girard and Vladislav Kamenev are near NHL ready as Girard has 3 points in 5 games this season already and Kamenev has 8 points in 9 games with the Milwaukee Admirals of the AHL. In terms of what they received from Ottawa, they get the 28th overall selection from last year’s draft, Shane Bowers who has 6 points in 10 games with Boston University in the NCAA and Andrew Hammond, who is looking to find his game again after his miracle run with the Senators in the 2014-2015 season, but realistically will serve as an AHL goaltender for the Cleveland Monsters. And while the picks that the Avs received won’t be that great as the Sens and Predators are poised to make the playoffs, Colorado needs to focus on quantity over quality and these three picks satisfy the deed of both. I think it will be important for the Avalanche to keep Landeskog as they need some form of veteran leadership, but the future is bright in the Mile High City.

The Verdict

While I am not a huge fan of announcing winners and losers of trades the day that they happen (especially when prospects are involved), it’s always fun to make predictions.

I think each team fills their needs quite nicely with this trade so I cannot say with certainty that any team is a loser. However, I’m a firm believer that the Avalanche “won” this trade solely due to the nice balance of quantity and quality of value they received.

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