Latest Avalanche Speculation – August 31, 2017
Latest on Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene and defenseman Nikita Zadorov in your NHL rumor mill.
USA TODAY’s Kevin Allen replied to questions yesterday on Twitter regarding the trade status of Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene. He doesn’t see Duchene being dealt before training camp opens next month because so many teams have limited salary-cap space, adding there’s confusion over what the Avs’ strategy is.
Allen considers the Columbus Blue Jackets, Carolina Hurricanes and Montreal Canadiens as the top three trade destinations. He also knows the Blue Jackets tried to acquire Duchene earlier this summer but the Avs asking price (“1st rounder, quality young defenseman, proven NHLer and top prospect” ) remains high. He wonders if it could cost them Ryan Murray and Boone Jenner.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Avs general manager Joe Sakic recently said he’s still willing to entertain offers for Duchene. However, It appears he has no intention of lowering his asking price.
Recent reports out of Columbus indicate the Jackets could still have an offer on the table for Duchene. Murray was believed to be part of it. Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen won’t discuss it but said he wouldn’t rule out making a trade before training camp opens if it will improve his roster.
Carolina seems a good fit as they have depth in good young NHL defensemen. Hurricanes GM Ron Francis last month indicated he’s not interested in parting with assets for a player who could depart via free agency in a year or two. While he didn’t mention Duchene, whose contract expires in 2019, it wasn’t difficult to figure out who he was talking about.
The Canadiens were linked to Duchene in June. They certainly need help at center but lack the depth to meet what the Avs seek in return.
BSN DENVER’s Adrian Dater took to Twitter saying negotiations between the Avalanche and restricted free agent defenseman Nikita Zadorov have “backslid a bit, claiming there’s a half-million difference between the two sides. He’s heard Zadorov, 22, seeks $2.5 million while the Avs are offering $2 million. He also said there’s talk of a short-term bridge deal.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avs are taking a curious hard-line stance with one of their few decent defensemen. He could’ve signed with a KHL team, even threatened to do so if he didn’t have a new contract with the Avs by the end of July, but it’s obvious he wants to stay in the NHL. They have plenty of salary-cap space and Zadorov isn’t asking for an exorbitant raise. They should be able to sort this out before training camp opens in September.