NHL Rumor Mill – August 18, 2017
Updates on Matt Duchene, Nikita Zadorov and Will Butcher in your NHL rumor mill.
THE DENVER POST: Mike Chambers yesterday spoke about the status of center Matt Duchene, contract talks with defenseman Nikita Zadorov and losing the exclusive negotiation rights to prospect defenseman Will Butcher.
Duchene remains on the trade block but Sakic expects the 26-year-old forward to attend training camp next month. He said he’s willing to listen to all offers but so far the trade market remains quiet. “I’ll never name names but I’ll sit there and if something makes sense for the way we want to go, with our team, we’ll really look at that,” said Sakic.
The Avs GM also said he and the Zadorov camp agreed to a two-year contract and the two sides are trying to figure out the dollars. It’ll be up to the young blueliner to figure out what he’ll do. Zadorov had threatened to return to Russia if an agreement on a new deal with the Avs wasn’t worked out by the end of July. The pull of playing in the 2018 Olympics could also be a factor.
As for Butcher, Sakic didn’t fault the 23-year-old for wanting to test the free-agent market. “He’ll see what’s out there for him and see where that goes.”
THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline recently reported the Columbus Blue Jackets have an offer on the table for Duchene, “one that almost certainly includes defenseman Ryan Murray.” However, Sakic’s asking price remains very steep. Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen wouldn’t directly address the Duchene rumors but said it’s never too late to make a move. Portzline believes the Avs and Jackets are perfect trade partners. The Jackets covet Duchene and they carry depth in young defensemen which the Avs desperately need.
NORTHJERSEY.COM: With New Jersey Devils center Travis Zajac sidelined four-to-six months recovering from surgery on a torn left pectoral muscle, Andrew Gross wonders if Devils GM Ray Shero might contact Sakic regarding Duchene. Gross notes the Avs interest in acquiring a defenseman would leave Shero hard-pressed to make that deal.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despite how quiet it’s been in the trade market, there is interest in Duchene. The Blue Jackets and Nashville Predators are just two clubs to reportedly explore trade options for the Avs forward. I doubt the Devils can come up with a suitable offer to tempt Sakic.
As long as Sakic keeps the asking price high, Duchene won’t be moving anytime soon. Barring a sudden development during training camp next month, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Duchene start the season with the Avs.
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Brian Bartlett, the agent for Will Butcher, had a good conversation Thursday with Vegas Golden Knights management, who “painted an impressive picture” of their plans and where his client would fit.
To cover all the @theathletichq cities – Butcher hasn’t received calls from Detroit, Chi, Toronto or SJ. Columbus has made a pitch.
— Craig Custance (@CraigCustance) August 17, 2017
Not that it should come as any surprise with how stacked they are on D prospects, #Flyers haven’t shown interest in Will Butcher.
— Dave Isaac (@davegisaac) August 17, 2017