Breaking Down the Duchene Trade
By Josh Brewster, Buffalo Sports Page NHL Expert
The salary cap age has made for a difficult trade market. It’s not a lot of fun for fans, who have seen most trade activity confined to the March trade deadline. But for one day at least, a juicy three-way deal makes for an interesting week.
It took months for Colorado GM Joe Sakic to get his price for Matt Duchene, the third overall pick in 2009. Sunday afternoon, he nailed it, and Duchene was pulled off the ice early in the Avs 6-4 loss at the Barclays Center against the Islanders.
Sakic traded Matt Duchene to Ottawa for goaltender Andrew Hammond (who will back up Semyon Varlamov), Ottawa’s first-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft and third-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft. The Senators also sent Ottawa a player they drafted with their first-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, forward Shane Bowers (currently at Boston University).
The bounty for Duchene did not stop there.
Completing the three-way trade, Ottawa sent center Kyle Turris to Nashville after the 28-year old agreed to a six-year contract extension with the Preds. Nashville sent the Avalanche a 2018 second-round pick, plus defenseman Samuel Girard (5GP for NSH thus far), who was drafted in the second round in 2016, plus forward Vladislav Kamenev (currently in the AHL), Ottawa’s second-round choice in 2014.
SUM IT UP:
1 2018 1st round pick (OTT)
1 2018 2nd round pick (NSH)
1 2019 3rd round pick (OTT)
Plus a player drafted in the first round in 2017 and two drafted in the second round in 2016 and 2014.
Goaltender Andrew “Hamburglar” Hammond (Career: 55GP: 27W-14L-6OT / 2.31GAA; .923SV%/4 shutouts)
Kyle Turris (11GP: 3-6-9; 26 shots)
Matt Duchene (14GP: 4-6-10; 23 shots)
“WIN NOW” IN CAPITAL CITY
Ottawa GM Pierre Dorion is said to have approached Sakic 18 months ago, asking him to keep the Sens in mind should he trade the coveted center. The long game paid off. This is a win-now deal for the Senators, who were one goal away from appearing in the Cup Final last spring.
They’ve now got an upgrade at center with Duchene, who hails from Haliburton, Ontario, northeast of Toronto, and whose wife is from Ottawa. The 26-year-old’s immense skills haven’t been on display to the degree he’d have liked with an Avalanche team which has struggled mightily since former coach Patrick Roy bailed. Duchene is under contract for two more seasons at a $6M cap hit.
Most of Ottawa’s talent is tied up for the next two seasons, if not three or four, including Derick Brassard, Zack Smith, Alex Burrows, Ryan Dzingel, Clarke MacArthur, Mike Hoffman and J-G Pageau. On defense, stalwart Erik Karlsson is good for the next two seasons at $6.5M, Dion Phaneuf at $7M for the next four.
When Bobby Ryan returns (finger injury), he’ll likely play on Duchene’s wing. Ryan is under contract for five years, including this one.
Both Ottawa goaltenders, Craig Anderson and Mike Condon, are solid through 2019-20.
Trading a whole bunch of picks and prospects was a no-brainer for Ottawa. Giving up Turris is tough, but negotiations with his agent, Kurt Overhardt, weren’t going anywhere, and there’s an irresistable level of skill that Duchene offers.
“WIN NOW” IN MUSIC CITY
For the Predators, Turris is a big upgrade and he’s signed through 2021-22.
With the team ranking 25th in the NHL at just 2.64 goals per game, Nashville needed offensive help and got it. Turris will slot behind Ryan Johansen as second line center. With winger James Neal allowed to walk to Vegas in the expansion draft, something had to be done for a team that went six games before bowing to the Penguins in the Cup Final.
Nashville’s lineup is also in “win-now” mode, with much of its talent signed for at least the next three years, including forwards Nick Bonino, Craig Smith, and Calle Jarnkrok, plus defenseman Roman Josi, all of whom will be around for at least three years. Johansen is good through 2024-25, and defensemen P.K. Subban and Mattias Ekholm are, like Turris, sealed through 2021-22.
Turris was beloved in Ottawa, where his career flourished after halting beginnings in Arizona (he was drafted by Mike Barnett and Wayne Gretzky). In Ottawa, he was a community favorite for his work with the Capital City Condors, a program for developmentally disabled children.
Making the deal even juicier, the Duchene and the Senators travel to Sweden where they will play against each other Friday and Saturday in the SAP NHL Global Series at the Ericsson Globe.
Fans certainly can chew on this whopper trade for a while. It’s too bad that more GM’s wait until the deadline, regardless the constraints of the salary cap era.