Updates on the latest trade speculation involving Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene and Philadelphia Flyers center Claude Giroux.

Latest Duchene rumors.

Matt Duchene's name has popped up in the rumor mill, but that doesn't mean the Avalanche are shopping him.

Matt Duchene’s name has popped up in the rumor mill, but that doesn’t mean the Avalanche are shopping him.

TSN: Darren Dreger provided an update on Thursday night’s report claiming the Colorado Avalanche and Ottawa Senators had trade discussions regarding Avs center Matt Duchene. Dreger claims as long as the Avalanche are willing to keep Duchene in trade talks, the Senators (and possibly some other teams) will “continue to listen and investigate the possibilities.” He considers it unlikely Avs GM Joe Sakic will move Duchene, suggesting perhaps he’s using the center as trade fodder “that could lead to an entirely different move involving different players.” Dreger claims there doesn’t appear to be a sense of desperation about the Avs, but they are frustrated with their performance.

ESPN.COM: Pierre LeBrun weighed in on the Duchene rumors, suggesting the center might not necessarily be on the market. “This could just be Colorado seeing what the market is not just for Duchene but also for other players on its roster, in case changes are needed later in the season. And it could be other teams asking about Duchene, which Colorado can’t control.”  LeBrun also expects the agent for Carolina Hurricanes captain Eric Staal to meet with Hurricanes management in the coming weeks to determined the club’s plans for the pending UFA. He also wonders if the Montreal Canadiens are willing to part with little-used defenseman Jarred Tinordi.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports not to expect the Senators to acquire Duchene, claiming GM Bryan Murray was merely “kicking the tires”. Garrioch also cites a league executive casting doubt on Duchene being dealt. While Murray’s been looking for help in the trade market, it’s not believed he has any deals cooking at the moment. Two league executives believe the Avs’ asking price for Duchene is “a top defenceman in return as part of a package that might also include a forward and a high-end draft pick.” The Senators would prefer moving either Patrick Wiercioch or Jared Cowen, but neither qualifies as a top blueliner. They’re also trying to shed demoted winger Colin Greening. Garrioch claims the Chicago Blackhawks are trying to trade Trevor Daley, the Carolina Hurricanes are shopping Ron Hainsey and the St. Louis Blues wouldn’t mind if someone took Carl Gunnarsson off their hands.

OTTAWA CITIZEN: Ken Warren doesn’t believe the Senators need to add a forward, as only three clubs have scored more goals than they have. He believes the bigger issue for the Sens is shoring up their defense, as only five teams have given up more goals.

PHILLY.COM: Sam Carchidi believes the Flyers could use Duchene, but they lack the cap space to take on his $6 million annual cap hit.

THE DENVER POST: Mike Chambers believes Duchene is the last player the Avalanche would part with, citing his role as a spark plug player. He believes if there were discussions between the Avs and Sens regarding Duchene, it happened last month when the center was struggling to score. Chambers feels Avs management have renewed faith in building around Duchene. If any Avs trade rumors would make sense, it’s those suggesting struggling starting goalie Semyon Valamov could be available.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Looks like the Duchene rumors are going to die a swift death. Based on the reports, it appears the Avalanche and Senators had perhaps general trade discussions. Duchene’s name may have come up, though it’s uncertain if Sakic or Murray initiated that conversation. Now, it seems that some pundits who raised the Duchene trade speculation are trying to downplay the situation.

Regarding Sakic’s recent discussion with Adrian Dater suggesting he’s willing to discuss just about anyone (except Nathan MacKinnon) in trade talks, maybe that was his way of trying to light a fire under his struggling club.

Even if Sakic is genuinely willing to trade Duchene, his $6 million annual cap hit through 2018-19 is almost impossible to move in-season. For those of you wondering why, there are only eight teams that can comfortably absorb his cap hit, but most of them (Winnipeg, Arizona, Nashville, Anaheim and Carolina) are under self-imposed cap ceilings considerably lower than the league cap. Only two (New Jersey and Buffalo) have ownership with willingness to spend, but I don’t believe they have the top defenseman the Avs need as part of the return for Duchene.  

As for the Senators, Warren makes an excellent point about their true need this season. Adding Duchene while giving up a top defenseman (and they won’t move Erik Karlsson, Marc Methot or the promising Cody Ceci) only weakens an already porous blueline. 

Giroux unworried about a trade.

NJ.COM: Randy Miller reports Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux is unconcerned about the possibility GM Ron Hextall might make a trade to shake up the struggling club. “I’m not going to be worrying about that stuff,” Flyers captain Claude Giroux said. “I’m more worried about winning games and getting back on track here. I’m going to let (Hextall) do his job and I’m going to worry about mine, cause right now it’s got to be better.” Hextall recently decline to say if he’s planning to make a move.

SPORTSNET (via TODAY’S SLAPSHOT): Elliotte Friedman believes Hextall was left a mess by his predecessor, including a lot of bad contracts. He believes the Flyers GM would love to do something, claiming he’s unsuccessfully dangled the Schenn brothers and Vincent Lecavalier out there on the trade market. Friedman doubts Hextall will move Giroux, as one Philadelphia columnist recently suggested.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers aren’t trading Giroux. And Hextall is truly stuck in cap hell for this season. He won’t get significant cap relief until the offseason, when Luke Schenn and Sam Gagner will be allowed to depart via free agency. He could shop Brayden Schenn and perhaps Mark Streit at the trade deadline, when their trade value will be higher, provided the Flyers are out of playoff contention by then. There’s no trade market for Lecavalier, who will likely be bought out in June. While Lecavalier is 35, he was 33 when he signed his contract. Thus, the Flyers will get some cap relief from buying him out.