Senators Ship Duchene to Blue Jackets
The Ottawa Senators have traded center Matt Duchene and defenseman Julius Bergman to the Columbus Blue Jackets for prospect forwards Vitaly Abramov and Jonathan Davidsson, a first-round pick in 2019 plus a conditional first-round pick if Duchene re-signs with the Jackets.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: And the first big domino drops leading up to Monday’s 3 pm ET trade deadline. It’s not surprising Duchene’s on the move to Columbus as trade speculation linked him to the Blue Jackets for over a week now. Reports indicate Duchene is joining them as a playoff rental player, though I expect the Jackets will attempt to re-sign him before his UFA eligibility on July 1.
The Jackets’ offense just got a significant boost. Duchene’s a proven first-line center with 58 points in 50 games this season, putting him on pace to blow past his career-high of 70 points. If he and left wing Artemi Panarin skate on the same line they could be offensive dynamite for the Jackets down the stretch and into the postseason.
Speaking of Panarin, who’s been a fixture for months in the trade-rumor mill, reports indicate the Jackets intend to retain him for the remainder of the season. So that’s Duchene and Panarin off the market now as the Jackets load up for what they hope will be a long postseason run.
Acquiring Duchene could also be a good piece of insurance for the Blue Jackets. Panarin apparently intends to test the free-agent market in July and appears lukewarm toward returning to Columbus. If Duchene enjoys playing for the Jackets, most of the money that would’ve gone toward re-signing Panarin will likely go to their newly-acquired center.
Bergman, a minor-league defenseman, is likely headed to the Jackets’ AHL affiliate in Cleveland.
As for the rebuilding Senators, this move could be the first of several leading up to deadline day. Pending UFA wingers Mark Stone and Ryan Dzingel are also believed on the trade block. There’s also speculation they could entertain offers for blueline Cody Ceci, who’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer.
The key return for the Senators is that first-round pick, as they dealt theirs to the Colorado Avalanche in the trade that brought Duchene to Ottawa. Depending on where the Jackets finish, that pick won’t be very high in the first-round order but it’s better than nothing. They could also land another first-round pick as part of a return for Stone before Monday.
Abramov, 20, is a promising young offensive right wing with strong playmaking ability. He has 22 points in 52 games with the AHL’s Cleveland Monsters. Davidson, a 21-year-old right wing, currently plays for Swedish team Djurgardens IF. Both have NHL potential but could be a year or two away from cracking the Sens’ roster.
To sum up, the Blue Jackets load up for the playoffs by landing a first-line center they hope to re-sign before July 1, while the Senators receive a package of futures that contains one first-round pick and possibly two.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) February 22, 2019