Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene has been looking for a trade out of town since the 2017 trade deadline in February, but his general manager Joe Sakic has not been willing to pull the trigger on any kind of offer.
Regardless, he still showed up to Avalanche training camp, though he didn’t seem too happy about it, per Mike Chambers of the Denver Post.
“I’m here to honor my contract,” Duchene said on Sept. 14. “I’m here for the respect of the fans and I’m here for my teammates.”
On the 19th, he was asked by Chambers if he would suit up for the Avalanche even if he wasn’t traded before the start of the regular season.
“I haven’t thought that far ahead,” he said.
There’s been plenty of interest in Duchene from teams around the league and it’s pretty easy to see why.
Duchene is a physical forward who holds the promise of scoring 30 goals. He netted that many during the 2015-16 season, a career high, and has recorded 20 or more goals in five of his first eight seasons in the league.
The New York Islanders were one of the more-publicized suitors. In June they offered defenseman Travis Hamonic and a first-round draft pick as a part of a package for the 26-year-old, per Newsday’s Arthur Staple. But Sakic and the Avalanche declined, prompting the Islanders to send Hamonic to the Calgary Flames for draft picks.
More recently, the Ottawa Senators inquired about Duchene and offered defenseman Cody Ceci, which obviously wasn’t enough to sway Sakic.
Colorado would want a decent haul of younger players and/or prospects for Duchene and the Senators simply do not have that.
This is where the Islanders could come in considering they have a bevy of young talent. However, it would be foolish to give up the likes of Josh Ho-Sang or Mathew Barzal, two of the team’s best prospects that are expected to play their first full seasons in the NHL this year.
But Michael Dal Colle and Anthony Beauvillier might be made more available by the Islanders. Throw in a draft pick or two and Sakic might be more willing to hear out the Islanders.
Acquiring Duchene would give the team an experienced second-line center to compliment what already looks like a solid first line in John Tavares, Jordan Eberle and Anders Lee.
It would take some pressure off Barzal, who could establish himself in the pros on the third line. However, Brock Nelson and Casey Cizikas would possibly have to duke it out for fourth-line duties.
Of course, this is all hypothetical, but it’s something to keep an eye out for if Duchene refuses to take the ice in Coloardo.