As the post-John Tavares era in New York Islanders franchise history continues, the organization is currently in the process of attempting to replace the goals that walked out the door with the newest Toronto Maple Leaf.
While it’s not the most pressing need given the team still must address its defensive deficiencies, the Islanders are in talks with the Ottawa Senators for center Matt Duchene, according to CLNS’ Jimmy Murphy.
The 27-year-old would immediately provide the Islanders with a second-line center behind last year’s Calder Trophy winner (Rookie of the Year) Mathew Barzal, who led the team with 85 goals (22 G, 63 A).
Playing in 82 games last season with the Colorado Avalanche before being traded to the Senators 14 games into the season, the Ontario native recorded 27 goals and 32 assists. Over his first nine years in the league, he’s averaging approximately 22 goals and 30 assists per season. Those numbers would help re-bolster the middle of New York’s attack.
The Islanders and Duchene were linked last season as well when the Avalanche put him on the market, but former general manager Garth Snow came up empty like he had so often before.
What the Islanders might be willing to give up all depends on Duchene’s contract situation. He’s a free agent at the end of next season, which would lessen Ottawa’s return unless a sign-and-trade was in the cards.
Luckily for New York and new president and general manager Lou Lamoriello, the Senators are one of the worst teams in hockey and are looking at a major rebuild which could make them desperate to deal Duchene. Not only could they be dealing him, but captain and two-time Norris Trophy-winning defenseman Erik Karlsson could also be on the move this summer.