Updates on Duchene and Kessel – July 17, 2017

by | Jul 17, 2017 | Rumors | 38 comments

Several teams could have interest in Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene, but can they afford him?

Some recent speculation on Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene & Pittsburgh Penguins winger Phil Kessel in your NHL rumor mill. 

 SPORTSNET: Rory Boylen recently listed the New York Islanders, Los Angeles Kings, Columbus Blue Jackets, Carolina Hurricanes and Pittsburgh Penguins as five possible destinations for Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene. He suggests it’s possible a contender seeking a second-line center could agree to meet the Avs’ reported high asking price to land him. 

Boylen notes the Avs rejected the Isles offer last month of defenseman Travis Hamonic (now with the Calgary Flames) and a first-round pick. The Isles could be reluctant to part with promising forward Mathew Barzal and instead prefer moving Brock Nelson, though neither satisfies the Avs need for a defenseman. They do have some first-round picks to put into play.

The Kings lack an established young top-four blueliner that they can afford to part with as trade bait. The Blue Jackets could offer up defenseman Ryan Murray but they might have to add a quality winger, such as Cam Atkinson, Boone Jenner or Oliver Bjorkstrand, into the deal. 

The Hurricanes aren’t likely to part with defensemen Jaccob Slavin, Noah Hanifin or Justin Faulk. Brett Pesce or Jake Bean could interest the Avs, but the question then becomes where Duchene, who has two years left on his contract, fits into the Hurricanes roster and how much it’ll cost to re-sign him.

As for the Penguins, Olli Maatta might be enticing for the Avs. Derrick Pouliot is another option, though he’s struggled to establish himself at the NHL level. Young forwards Jake Guentzel and Conor Sheary could also be attractive to the Avalanche. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is merely a summary of Boylen’s piece. I recommend you follow the link above and read the entire thing, as he’s done a good job attempting to break down what it could cost those five clubs to land Duchene. Of these, I think the Blue Jackets and Hurricanes have the necessary depth in young assets to acquire the Avs center, but of course that depends on their willingness to meet the Avs’ asking price. So far, none of them are keen to do that.

The Blue Jackets reportedly included Murray in a pitch for Duchene. However, the Avalanche apparently don’t see him as an established top-four blueliner.

Hurricanes GM Ron Francis made it clear he’s unwilling to part with assets for a player who could bolt via free agency in two years times. I can’t help but wonder if Francis would be more interested in Duchene if he were only a year away from free agency, as that would give him the opportunity to work out a possible “sign-and-trade” deal with the Avs.

I don’t doubt the Penguins have some interest. However, GM Jim Rutherford recently said he’s not pursuing an expensive center.

The Islanders could certainly use Duchene but I think they’re out after the Avs spurned their offer of Hamonic and a first.Having shipped Hamonic to the Flames, I don’t think they’ve got the necessary trade chip to pry Duchene out of Colorado.

As for the Kings, yes, they definitely need a second-line center like Duchene, but they lack sufficient assets (or sufficient salary cap space) to acquire him. 

TSN: Craig Button recently dismissed talk of the Penguins possibly trading right wing Phil Kessel as “#FakeNews.” He notes Kessel helped the Pens win consecutive Stanley Cup championships, three Game Sevens and eight playoff rounds. Button also pointed out how Kessel bolstered the Penguins offense.

While he doesn’t dismiss the possibility that Kessel could be a salary-cap casualty down the road, a lot of things will have to happen before that takes place. While young forwards such as Conor Sheary and Jake Guentzel are promising, Kessel is an established talent.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The speculation of a Kessel trade was quickly dismissed by Penguins GM Jim Rutherford last week. Sure, you can’t rule anything out and some of the critiques about Kessel have some merit. But there’s also no denying how important he was to the Penguins over the last two seasons. He will remain a big part of their core going forward. Maybe in a few years he’ll become a cap casualty, but not now.  



  1. The Kessel trade talk came from a Pittsburgh reporter who had no source or information to back it up. It was 100% speculation. PlayStation GMing. Kessel probably said no to an interview request so the reporter started talking trade. …that was pure specilation just like the original article 🙂

    • Normally I would delight in people ripping on cook… the turd. But one thing he doesn’t do is make up stories. I don’t doubt he got enough info from the org about Phil to feel comfortable writing the piece. Even if he is wrong in his conclusions

      • I honestly think Tocchet was both Cook and Madden’s main inside source the past few years. Toch was long time friends with both.

    • Unlike Chrisms I’m going to get right to the point on Cook. He is a older sports writer in Pittsburgh that has lost his stuff quite a few years back. Long past retirement and honestly will write anything anymore on a hunch. His hunch has been way off base 99% of the time. This most recent article was a piece based off Rick and Phil’s good working coach-player relationship and ASSUMING that Recchi for some reason won’t be as good as Rick was, especially with Kessel.

      Complete BS and way off base but effective to get false trade reports flowing.

    • Kessel won’t get traded. Makes too much money. He could play more well rounded hockey but he has value in Pittsburgh and they should keep him.

      Pens should offer Maatta/Rust for Duchene. He could rotate between 3rd line C and on Sid’s wing. Can they afford his $6M?

  2. Carolina also has Hayden Fleury I believe a number 7 overall pick who should be coming into age… The Blue Jackets are my pick for Duchene. They have defence depth and youth to make this deal.

    • the Avs are so dysfunctional. The only way Duchesne gets traded is if Sakic gives up the GM job and hires someone as GM

  3. I think Jeff Carter suffices as a #2 C in LA, he was the 10th highest scoring; 66 points, C in the league last season, & his 32 goals were 4th best for C’s. Could Carter move back to RW sure, or could Duchene play LW? That could work as well but LA doesn’t have a Dman to give up.

  4. Didn’t Sakic come out & say NYI didn’t make that offer?

    • He said a first was never offered.

      • Sakic, said that.

      • except 3 different teams have said they met Sakics asking price inly to have sakic back off and ask for more

        so unless each if this teams were lying in unison, then nothing sakic says can be believed

        i tend to believe that Hamonic and a first was offered only because staple says it was. he’s the only reporter snow talks to and staple knows what happened when chris Botta released trade discussions that Garth snow wants private.

        according to staple the isles offer was Hamonic a 1st and prospect. which met the ask that Sakic originally requested. but when the Islanders accepted sakic came back and also wanted barzal or sorokin added in place of the 1st which the Islanders wouldnt do.

        thats something no team can accede to its negotiating in bad faith…reports out of nashville and Columbus have hinted at the same tactics as well

        David Poile, The highly respected GM of the predators basically confirmed this when he said sakic was continually “moving the goalposts in negotiations” obviously meaning he was shopping offers to raise his return. While that does happen from time to time in any trade negotiation, there comes a point where it becomes disrespectful to the process

  5. It’s apparent that no one is meeting Sakic asking price; otherwise he already be traded. That leaves me to believe nothing will happen until the season starts. Then a couple of things could come into play:
    1. Duchene starts with a bang and proves the value.
    1b. Duchene struggles which will drop his value
    2. Ave struggles and forcing Sakic hand to lower the price.
    3. One of the interested teams has a tough time scoring and overall team struggles prompting a trade.
    4. one or more of the interested teams has a young prospect fill the void while not hurting the team and continues down that road.
    Or none or a combination of all the above, were Sakic says I’ll wait until the trade deadline by that time new teams could become players while other will have dropped out.

    • All bases covered!

    • I think Lyles mention of a sign and trade is what will open up the possibility for Sakoc to move Duchene. It will have to wait another season.

      Once a team acquiring Duchene knows what he will cost them beyond his current contract they will be more willing to meet Sakics asking price.

      Sakic’s price can always come down but it doesnt seem likely at this point.

      Im thinking Duchene is staying put in colorado for another season.

  6. The Av’s are going to struggle, the only worse team in the NHL will be Vegas although NJ & Florida won’t be that much better. How can NJ expect to compete with that D? Poor Schneider no way his #’s bounce back playing behind that group.

    Can anyone tell me what’s happening in Florida? What a mess. Who are Florida’s 12 primary forwards next season?

    Huberdeau, Barkov, Vrbata.
    Dadanov, Trochek, ?
    ?, Bjugstad, ?
    Haley, MacKenzie, Sceviour.

    Things looked so promising just 2 years ago. Who’s filling these slots, Malgin, McCann, & some rookies, Hawryluk, Haapala &? A total mess.

    • Im gonna call to see if i can be granted a walk on tryout.
      Looks like a dogs breakfast already, so there’s gotta be a chance.

    • There experiment going with fancy analytics failed. They are going back to the teied and yrue eye test. Or perhaps a bit of both.

      Nice little expwriment though.

  7. Of the five teams listed as a contender looking to land Duchene only one is a true contender; Pittsburgh.

    • And they can without him; as they already have. So why bother?

      • I agree Pittsburgh should stay the course unless injuries hit until the trade deadline. Don’t do anything that would impede Sprong’s advancement to the NHL or reduce the quality icetime of Guentzel, Sheary or others.

        Even after Dumoulin & Sheary are signed, Pit should have about 2.5 in cap space to address short term injury issues & give them tons of trade deadline cap space should they want to add a playoff rental heading into next seasons playoffs.

      • they are hurting down the middle… boniono (who they shouldn’t have resigned for that cost) and Cullen being replaced by… Rowney and ? ? rowney is a good 12-13 guy… Jake as been said is staying on wing. gonna have to do something here… maybe Mario comes out of retirement!

      • Just double shift Crosby & Malkin play Rowney as the #4. Either that or some one is going to have to move to the #3 C spot.

        The only player Capfriendly currently shows waiver exempt is Guentzel. I assume Archibald will get waived & sent down but don’t think Pit will risk losing anyone else.

        Not much cap space to address a #3 after Sheary & Dumoulin are signed. Guentzel still appears the best option currently but i agree with you that taking him off Crosby’s line is problomatic. Could Sprong play LW on the 1st or 2nd line instead to allow Guentzel to C the 3rd line?

        If Rutherford could rid the team of Hagelin that would potentially free up the cap space to address the #3C spot. Might Rutherford use his 2nd buyout window opened up by Dumoulin & Sheary filing for arbitration to buy out Hagelin? Could Hagelin play as the #3 C in a checking role?

      • hags still has some small trade value and I doubt if ruth wanted to trade him it would be an issue… though I expect return would be small. ruth has said guntzal will be playing wing and after arbitration he expects 2 mil left for a third line center. I’d try out vegas for marchessault or eakin and make hags and a pick or prospect the offered return.

    • Not that it really matters but I didn’t read it that way. It started a new sentence saying. “It’s possible a contender could”, not referring to the 5 teams in the previous sentence.

      That said I think Columbus is a contender from those 5 listed in the sentence above & yes Pittsburgh could easily repeat, most of the contenders in the east got worse, Washington, Montreal, NYR all lost or traded significant assets.

  8. Spooner is looking for 2.7/3.5 mil per and it looks like the B’s are talking…..CJ sat the kid during the season and I believe he sat 2-3 playoff games and Sweeney is thing about it,the GM is in over his head, he’s been looking for 3 years now for a shutdown Dman and a scoring power forward to play on the 2nd line….

    • JOE, not sure what you mean by Sweeney is looking at it. You mean paying him that? Let him go to arbitration and make a decision from there.
      Not sure Sweeney is in over his head, anymore.
      I think in his first full year he made a couple mistakes – Not involving more teams in the Hamilton trade (it has been reported most GM’s didn’t know he was available) and the Backes signing. The term is too long. If that was the only way you get him then walk from the deal.
      I think Sweeney is stuck in a tough spot; Ownership won’t let him go full rebuild as their core is too good and still in their late prime. And he had no cheap controllable prospects coming up of quality that would allow him to compete without blowing up his cap with UFA’s. So he is trying to rebuild on the fly while being a playoff team, which is like trying to suck and blow at the same time.
      The million $ question is will these prospects be good enough, soon enough, not to waste the last quality years of Bergeron/Krecji, and the last years period of Chara.
      I’m skeptical, but maybe?

      • Ray are you kidding no young controllable quality young prospects how about Carlo – Zachary- McAvoy- Jake – Agostino- Bjork- Zane- Malcolm- Jessie- Zorbil and more they may have best prospect pool in NHL

      • What I meant Obe was at the time Sweeney was hired he didn’t have that. Perhaps I should have been clearer in my post. So he had to rebuild the farm. The issue is that takes time, something the Bruins don’t have much of. Will Zboril, Carlo and McAvoy be ready to be top tier NHL defencemen before Bergeron and the rest are on the downside? Chara will be gone.
        It’s gonna be a tight window.

  9. I think Ottawa can remain an outside shot at landing Duchene.

    Lots will need to happen. Like moving a big contract. Say Ryan’s or Phaneufs.

    They will also need to be willing tobpart with Ceci ir Chabot.

    But stranger things have happened.

    • Wishful thinking and at the cost of too much

    • I do not wish for Duchene. We have Tuuris, Brassard, Pageau and hopefully White?

      Ottawa has shown interest i the past regarding Duchene. They are a budget team and likely unwilling to pay colorado’s asking price.

      The wishful thinking on my would for the Sens not to give up Chabot or Ceci but find away to move Phaneuf or Ryan’s contracts. Heck both.

      I think you misconstuex my post as to my belief tbe Sens may still be a long shot for Duchene to me wantinv them to pick up Duchene

  10. IF draisaitl , which I assume he will , goes 2C all year , who has the edge down the middle ?
    Mcdavid Leon Nuge Letestu

    Mathews bozak kadri Moore
    Excluding linemates .

    • Wow! I never realized how close that comparison would actually be.
      Id give a very slight edge to the Oil, but its almost a wash.
      Leon vs Bozak being the furthest apart in the groups.

    • Edmonton

    • Leafs have more depth @ Center

  11. Rory Boylen goes onto the giant pile of hockey writers I’ll never bother to read again.

    Jake Guentzel??? Did Rory watch the playoffs this year?

    For a dog like Duchene? The greatest 41 point scorer in NHL history apparently.

  12. Anyone who believes the Pens would be interested in Duchene is dreaming. They already have $20 million tied up in their top 2 centers. Add another $6 million for Duchene and you have a full 1/3 of your cap dedicated to one position.