It’s been over a year now since the Ottawa Senators traded for center Matt Duchene with the Colorado Avalanche in a move that hasn’t yielded much for the organization.
While the 27-year-old has continued to exhibit a knack for playmaking, recording a combined 29 goals and 39 assists in 86 games in Ottawa, the Senators have been going nowhere.
After putting up the second-least amount of points, the Senators are tied for last in the Atlantic Division with just 17 points through 18 games. It was an expected course of events considering they traded away their best player, two-time Norris Trophy-winning defenseman Erik Karlsson.
Facing a complete overhaul of its roster, the Senators have to start jettisoning any valuable assets they have in order to accrue the future pieces needed to develop a contender.
That includes trading Duchene, whose contract expires at the end of the 2018-19 season.
Duchene has expressed his affinity for Ottawa in the past but was caught on video while riding in an Uber where he and his teammates trashed the coaching staff. That doesn’t necessarily reflect much joy in playing for the Senators.
It’s just the latest drama taking place inside the organization as it might be best to clean house.
If Duchene is made available (which should be a no-brainer at this point) the New York Islanders should be on high alert and ready to negotiate.
The Islanders were linked to Duchene when the Avalanche put him on the trade block last year and spoke with the Senators in July shortly after losing John Tavares.
Duchene would still be a solid pick up for the Islanders, who are lacking skilled depth at center behind Mathew Barzal and Brock Nelson. Nabbing a talent like Duchene would add another dimension to the Islanders offense as they are relying on Valtteri Filppula and Cal Clutterbuck to pick up the slack down the middle.
Granted, the need for scoring at center has been magnified due to Barzal’s slow goal-scoring start. He has just two tallies in his first 17 games.
Duchene could take over second-line center duties while Nelson would move down to the third unit. Given Clutterbuck’s standing on the fourth line, Filppula could be the odd man out if such a trade were to go down.
But it would be a necessary move considering Duchene would provide a shot to the arm for a middle-of-the-road attack like the Islanders’, which is averaging 3.17 goals per game. Duchene’s 19 points this season (6 G, 13 A) would rank first on the team.