Aside from Columbus Blue Jackets sniper Artemi Panarin, there’s no player in the NHL with as much speculation surrounding himself as Ottawa Senators center Matt Duchene. In fact, going back well over a year to his time with the Colorado Avalanche, there’s no player that comes even CLOSE to experiencing the “will he or won’t he” coverage that Duchene has endured.
The pending unrestricted free agent will reportedly be on the move once again prior to Monday’s NHL Trade Deadline, as it’s expected that he’s unwilling to sign a contract extension with the Senators at this time. In his recent 31 Thoughts column for Sportsnet, NHL insider Elliotte Friedman reports that “barring a massive swerve”, Duchene will be traded.
So… who’s in the mix? The Nashville Predators have been rumoured to be involved, as have the Columbus Blue Jackets… but who else?
Check out this report from Friedman:
There are undoubtedly more suitors than Columbus and Nashville, but they are the two most mentioned. I’m not convinced Winnipeg is interested at this time, and if I had to pick a stealth destination, I’d choose either Calgary or the Islanders. (If GM Marc Bergevin wasn’t on record as being against rentals, Montreal would be on that list, too.)
Interesting… Duchene would certainly give the Calgary Flames a boost on the second line and frankly we’d LOVE to see him play with Flames agitator Matthew Tkachuk. It’s also interesting to note that the Winnipeg Jets have fallen out of the race, given all the buzz surrounding them and their push to acquire another top six forward. It’s believed though that Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff is laser focused in on Duchene’s teammate and fellow pending UFA Mark Stone.
Those Preds though… there’s simply too much talk of Duchene to Nashville to ignore them.
Again, from Friedman:
There is talk that if he ends up in Tennessee, both player and team will work to make it a long-term relationship. Let’s see if Predators GM David Poile gets any extensions done in the near future with arbitration eligibles like Ryan Hartman and Colton Sissons, or Kevin Fiala — coming out of his entry-level contract. That would give him a better idea of the cap room he’s got to play with, assuming none of those players are involved in a potential trade.
Suffice it to say, Sens GM Pierre Dorion will be fielding a TON of calls this week. Not only does he have Duchene and Stone to worry about, but potential 30 goal scorer Ryan Dzingel is also slated to hit the open market as a free agent this upcoming offseason. Something’s, or rather SOMEONE, has got to give in Ottawa.