Matt Duchene Rumor Roundup – September 3, 2017
As training camp nears, the Matt Duchene trade speculation churns on. Check out the latest in your NHL rumors.
FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cited TSN’s Darren Dreger’s Friday appearance on Buffalo’s WGR 550 discussing the seemingly never-ending Matt Duchene trade speculation. He said Duchene wanted this situation remedied a long time and remains hopeful that something can be done before training camp opens.
Dreger said there’s no indication from either side that the 26-year-old center won’t report to camp if the Avs don’t move him. While confident the Duchene camp (led by agent Pat Brisson) haven’t made that threat to GM Joe Sakic, Dreger wonders if they could go in that direction if Sakic hasn’t worked out a trade by then.
Dreger believes the reason it’s taken so long is Sakic has a level of expectation that’s higher than Duchene’s performance last season. For the teams interested in Duchene, they want to make a deal based on the center’s play in 2016-17. He said the Avs sought a “left-shot, top defenseman” as part of the package leading up to this year’s draft. “There’s got to be a Top 4 or 5 guy that maybe Nashville or another team with interest is willing to part with,” said Dreger.
LE JOURNAL DE MONTREAL: Yvon Pedneault pondered what Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin has in store for his $8 million in salary-cap space heading into this season. Citing the Habs need for depth at center, he wonders if they’ve targeted Duchene, Edmonton’s Ryan Nugent-Hopkins or another player and what they might offer up in return. He advises against moving forward Alex Galchenyuk.
BSN DENVER’s Adrian Dater recently took to Twitter to agree with USA Today’s Kevin Allen listing Columbus, Carolina and Montreal as the top-three potential trade destinations for Duchene. He also adds Nashville and Boston to that list.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ve previously offered up my take on those possible trade partners here and in my recent column for The Hockey News. I would also add the New York Islanders, as GM Garth Snow attempted to acquire Duchene by offering up defenseman Travis Hamonic and a first round pick prior to shipping Hamonic to Calgary.
I don’t believe the Bruins will pursue Duchene. Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci are their top two centers. Brad Marchand is their first-line left wing and I think they’ll pencil in Frankie Vatrano as their second-line left winger.
I’ll be very surprised if Duchene doesn’t report to training camp. It’s in his best interest to have a strong start to this season. Refusing to report to camp could adversely affect his trade value, making it harder for Sakic to move him. Interested teams will undoubtedly monitor his training camp and preseason performance.
Unless Sakic lowers his asking price or a rival club gets desperate for help at center (which could be what the Avs GM is hoping for), I don’t see Duchene getting traded before training camp. In fact, I can see this situation dragging on into the start of the season.