Thursday, January 26, 2017

Duchene Open to Being Traded away from Avalanche

So, how are the Matt Duchene sweepstakes going? There are, at last check, about 29 teams that could use a forward as talented as the 26-year-old, who still has two years remaining on his current deal at an AAV of $6 million. But not many will be willing to part with the assets that the Avalanche, a team on the cusp of a full rebuild, will likely seek.

We're talking a bona fide No.1 defenseman and a healthy combo of prospects and picks.

Duchene, who is in his eighth full season with the Avs, has only tasted NHL playoffs twice. He's sounding pretty ready to move on. In fact, he was probably ready last season when then head coach Patrick Roy criticized him for celebrating to joyfully after his 30th goal.

“I’m open to it,” Duchene said Wednesday, according to the Denver Post. “When I say open to it, I know it’s part of the business, and it’s something that might happen. I’m not hiding from it. I’m not running away. I’m not banging my head. I understand it’s part of what we deal with as pro athletes.”

Here's more from Duchene, per Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post:

“It’s been really tough to have any taste of success at the NHL level as a team,” Duchene said. “Thankfully, I’ve been able to have (success) at the international level with Team Canada. And it’s something that has given me some really good experience. I know when this team, or whatever (NHL) team I’m on, is ready to win, I know I’ll be able to bring some experience to it. That’s something that fuels me, and it keeps me positive.”

Now, to find a suitable trade partner. In his article, Kiszla says that Carolina's Jaccob Slavin could be a good fit for a trade. The second-year Hurricane is a Denver native and a fine young defenseman in the making, but it will likely take a few more prime pieces for the Avs to do that deal.

What about the New York Islanders? Desperate to add a premier talent (with some term, no less) on John Tavares' line, would the Isles be able to part with one of their top defensemen? Could Colorado be tempted to take a package that includes a combination of a current Isles defenseman (say, Travis Hamonic), a prospect (say Ryan Pulock) and another prospect or pick?

One thing we do know: Isles GM Garth Snow is desperate, having dug a deep hole for his club by doing very little to replace the top-tier talent (Kyle Okposo and Frans Neilsen) that left this summer. Jack Capuano's firing buys some time for snow, but the Isles need to show John Tavares that they are committed and ready to sacrifice by July 1st, when it becomes time to begin negotiations with Tavares on an extension.

It's clearly speculative, like everything else we are going to hear leading up to the February 28th trade deadline, but we're saying the Isles are a good fit because they are one of the more desperate teams out there.

They aren't the only desperate team, so stay tuned...