Matt Duchene

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While Turris continues to roll, Duchene still stuck in first gear

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Sometimes the grass is greener on the other side, sometimes it isn’t.

The two focal points of the biggest trade this season so far in the National Hockey League find themselves on opposite sides of the old expression.

On the ‘grass isn’t’ side, we find Matt Duchene, now an Ottawa Senators player after getting shipped to Canada’s capital from the Colorado Avalanche in a three-team deal (that also included the Nashville Predators, but more on that in a moment) earlier this month.

Duchene, unhappy in the Colorado Rockies, has now gone six games without a point in his new threads.

On the ‘greener side,’ we find Kyle Turris, now a member of the Nashville Predators, who was shipped out of Canada’s capital after contract negotiations between his former team, the Senators, “did not see the light at the end of the tunnel.” 

Unlike Duchene, (his trade partner?) Turris has found new life in Music City. In six games, Turris has two goals and three assists and scored this five-hole goal on Wednesday to help the Predators get past the struggling Montreal Canadiens 3-2 in the shootout.

Turris’ arrival on the Predators’ second line has been of great assistance to 21-year-old forward Kevin Fiala as well.

Fiala has six points, including two multi-point outings, since Turris arrived on Nov. 5 and is well on his way to eclipsing his rookie season point total of 16 last year with two goals and 11 assists in 20 games this season.

It was no secret the Senators wanted Duchene, badly, in the days leading up to the deal that finally got done. Turris and the Sens couldn’t reach an agreement on an extension and thus the 28-year-old became expendable. The results thus far, at least on the scoresheet, haven’t matched the steep price required to get Duchene.

But it’s not all bad. Some consolation for Sens fans:

And it’s not to say results won’t come.

Duchene has 23 shots in those six games. There would be more concern if he wasn’t getting chances.

An immediate winner in any high-profile swap is always hotly debated. Turris has had a strong start in Nashville, but he went to a team that is a few months removed from being in the Stanley Cup Finals and are looking like strong contenders once again.

Duchene is a highly-skilled player who scored 30 goals two years ago. The chemistry with Bobby Ryan just hasn’t blossomed just yet. Give it time.

The thing about trades is this: a clear-cut winner is often never determined a few weeks after the deal is made.

Duchene summed it up rather succinctly on Tuesday in the Ottawa Sun:

“I’ve said it many times, a season is full of peaks and valleys and 10 games from now, we could be having a totally different conversation.


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Sakic’s patience pays off for Avs in Duchene trade

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All of a sudden, things look a lot more positive for the Colorado Avalanche, not to mention how people view Joe Sakic as a GM.

Now, that’s not to say it was easy. The Avalanche took a lot of heat before finally pulling the trigger in trading Matt Duchene, but with the monster deal involving three teams, Colorado was able to land a pretty staggering package of picks, prospects, and Hamburglar.

Prospects: Samuel Girard, Vladislav Kamenev, and Shane Bowers.

Picks: First-rounder from Senators (see details below for how it is briefly lottery-protected), second-rounder in 2018 from Predators, third-rounder in 2019 from Ottawa.

Hamburglar: Andrew Hammond

Phew, that’s quite the haul for the Avalanche. Here’s the thing: I don’t think any single player in this deal will end up better than Duchene (or Kyle Turris). If that’s the only way you’ll judge a trade, then after all this time, Sakic may still lose.

On the other hand, it was clear that Duchene needed to go. With two years left at $6M per pop, it’s plausible that he would have left eventually, and for nothing but cap space. Even if the Avalanche re-signed Duchene in an alternate scenario, are they truly primed to contend during his peak years?

[Breaking down blockbuster Matt Duchene, Kyle Turris trade]

This deal seems close to optimal for the Avalanche as far as realistic “gets” are concerned; such a choice only seems wiser when you consider that Travis Hamonic is struggling and injured with Calgary, as just one example.

The cooler element is that, for the first time in a long time, it feels like things are trending up for the Avalanche.

Consider the players who are leading the charge for the refreshingly respectable 8-6-0 Avs. Nathan MacKinnon has been on a tear lately, reminding us that it’s a little weird to be disappointed in a guy who’s still just 22. Tyson Barrie ties MacKinnon with a team-leading 14 points, and he’s old by Avs standards at 27. Mikko Rantanen is already looking great at 21. Alex Kerfoot could be a keeper at 23. J.T. Compher (22) and Tyson Jost (19) are showing intrigue. It’s hard to believe that Gabriel Landeskog is only 25.

Heck, the Avalanche may just revive Nail Yakupov, who’s been given up on a lot for a player who is just 24.

Add intriguing first-rounder Calle Makar to that group and the Avalanche were already enjoying some reasons for optimism. This mixture of picks and prospects just gives them more ammunition.

Girard, 19, is the gem of this group. To my eyes, he was already showing some real promise with the Predators, and he’ll almost certainly get more of a chance to show what he can do (and, yes, maybe also get exposed a bit more) on an Avalanche team that sorely needs defense.

Kamenev, 21, is one of those prospects who could go either way. The good news, though, is that he’s been putting up solid AHL numbers. The Athletic’s Corey Pronman broke down the trio (subscription required) in greater detail, arguing that Kamenev and Shane Bowers, 18, may ultimately be depth or mid-range guys.

In case you’re wondering, Girard (47th in 2016) and Kamenev (42nd in 2014) were second-round picks while Bowers went 28th overall in this past draft.

TSN’s Scott Cullen did a nice job breaking down how those draft picks might work out for the Avalanche:

The haul of draft picks increases the overall value of the deal for Colorado. Ottawa’s first-round pick could be in the middle of the round, give or take a few spots, and that should generally yield an NHL-calibre player. Second and third-round picks bring about a one-in-three and one-in-four chance, respectively of yielding an NHL player. For a team like Colorado, coming off a historically terrible season, obtaining five young assets (plus Hammond) for Duchene is the smart long-term play.

Ultimately, this deal could go in a lot of ways for the Avalanche. It’s important to remember that a significant element of all of this could very well be player development.

Possible value for the Hamburglar?

It’s fair to say that, from Ottawa’s perspective, trading Andrew Hammond came down to a pure “salary dump.”

I wonder if Sakic might be able to do something interesting here, though. At the moment, Semyon Varlamov is on a two-year deal at $5.9M per season, while backup Jonathan Bernier has a one-year, $2.75M contract.

If you’re a team hurting for a backup goalie, call Colorado. Sakic could conceivably make something work in a variety of ways, whether it be moving Hammond or maybe retaining some salary in a trade involving Bernier.

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Yes, that’s a lot to digest for the Avalanche, but in the spirit of the Hamburglar, at least Sakic provided Avalanche fans with a rare trade that feels like a Happy Meal.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

‘It’s a learning experience’ — Duchene saga in Colorado ends with blockbuster trade

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Go ahead and circle Nov. 10 and 11 on your hockey calendars.

Matt Duchene, now a member of the Ottawa Senators, could face his old team the Colorado Avalanche for the first time just days after Sunday’s blockbuster, three-team trade that also involved the Nashville Predators.

The funny thing is this two-game set between the Senators and Avalanche won’t take place in Denver or Ottawa. Duchene would face his old team when the two clubs face each other in Sweden on Friday and Saturday.

This trade puts an end to Duchene’s career with the Avalanche. Selected third overall in 2009, Duchene played 585 games with Colorado, scoring 178 goals and 428 points. But the relationship had gone through a lengthy rough patch, resulting in months of trade talk involving the 26-year-old center.

“Probably the last … year has been tough,” Duchene told reporters, per BSN Denver, after leaving Sunday’s game between the Avalanche and Islanders. He played just under two minutes of ice time before exiting.

“But at the same time it’s a learning experience, it’s a growing experience. It’s part of the business. None of this is personal at the end of the day. It’s a business. I can’t say enough good things. Colorado has given me so much.”

With this deal, the Senators (acquiring Duchene) and Predators (acquiring Kyle Turris from Ottawa) made significant moves to bolster their lineups with the intent of making a prolonged playoff run next spring.

For the Avalanche, this was an opportunity to collect draft picks and prospects with hopes of building a more prosperous future.

The Avalanche acquired defenseman Samuel Girard, forward Vladislav Kamenev and a 2018 second-round pick from Nashville, and forward Shane Bowers, goaltender Andrew Hammond, a first-round pick in 2018 and a third-round pick in 2019 from Ottawa.

That would give the Avalanche two first-round picks and two second-round picks in 2018, and five selections in the opening three rounds next year.

“We feel this deal brings us some top prospects as well as some high draft picks as we continue to build for both the short and long-term future,” said Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic in a statement. “We’ve said all along that we wanted to be patient and wait for the right deal, and this is the opportunity we feel is best for the organization.”

MORE: Turris on Ottawa contract talks: ‘very apparent things weren’t going to work out’

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Cam Tucker is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @CamTucker_Sport.

Breaking down blockbuster Matt Duchene, Kyle Turris trade

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Wow!

It’s a three-way blockbuster trade on Sunday, with Matt Duchene and Kyle Turris involved, and the Colorado Avalanche, Ottawa Senators and Nashville Predators making a massive move after days of growing anticipation.

Per the reports that are flooding in, Matt Duchene is going to the Ottawa Senators. After making it to the Eastern Conference Final during the 2017 playoffs, the Senators are off to a good start once again and it certainly helps having their star defenseman Erik Karlsson back healthy.

In Duchene, the Senators add a talented offensive threat to their lineup, which could certainly bolster their standing as a potential contender in the East. They will have this year plus another remaining on his contract with a $6 million cap hit. They should also receive a player highly motivated to turn the page on the last few months and years of his career in Colorado. For months, there was trade talk involving Duchene as the years of losing and misery began to pile up for the Avalanche and the third overall pick from 2009.

Kyle Turris is reportedly on his way to Nashville. According to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, Turris, at the end of a five-year, $17.5 million contract and a pending unrestricted free agent, was in the process of signing a six-year, $36 million contract extension with the Predators, which would keep him off the open market this summer.

Falling two wins short of a Stanley Cup in June, the Predators boast a formidable top-three group on the blue line, though they’re missing Ryan Ellis after news broke in September that he could miss four to six months following offseason surgery. This deal gives them another top center in addition to Ryan Johansen, as they look to climb the Western Conference standings and get back into the position of being a championship contender. Johansen is right now struggling without a goal on the season and only seven points in 14 games so far.

Nashville has a 7-5-2 record and 16 points — the same amount as the San Jose Sharks, Vancouver Canucks, Avalanche, Dallas Stars and Chicago Blackhawks.

And finally, to the Avalanche. This has been a decent start to the season for them after the disaster of 2016-17, although today’s game against the Islanders certainly isn’t going their way. In moving Duchene, the return from Nashville and Ottawa is a healthy set of prospects and draft picks.

So, here we go, from the Avalanche:

The Colorado Avalanche Hockey Club announced today that the club has acquired defenseman Samuel Girard, forward Vladislav Kamenev and a second-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft from the Nashville Predators, as well as forward Shane Bowers, goaltender Andrew Hammond, a first-round selection in the 2018 NHL Draft and a third-round pick in 2019 from the Ottawa Senators.

That would, in all likelihood, give the Avalanche two first-round picks and two second-round picks in 2018, and five selections in the opening three rounds.

This is significant for both the Predators and Senators. Both teams made it to the 2017 conference championship series and, after the price they paid today to land key centers for their respective lineups, it appears they’re both intent on trying to make lengthy runs at the Stanley Cup again next spring.

MORE: Turris on Ottawa contract talks: ‘very apparent things weren’t going to work out’

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Cam Tucker is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @CamTucker_Sport.

Avs trade Matt Duchene

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We have a blockbuster.

It involves Matt Duchene, and from the early reports, it involves a trio of teams — the Colorado Avalanche, Ottawa Senators, and Nashville Predators.

Duchene began Sunday’s game against the New York Islanders as a member of the Colorado Avalanche. He played a total of 1:59 and left the ice during the first period, per multiple reports.

Now, Duchene has been traded, the Avalanche confirmed Sunday evening. Per Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, Duchene is going to the Senators, while Kyle Turris is on his way to Nashville. Of course, more information on what Colorado received will quickly be filtering through.

After months and months of speculation, rumors he may not report to training camp, and eventually playing in the first 13 games of the season for Colorado despite all the trade talk, the Duchene saga in Colorado is at its apparent end.

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Cam Tucker is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @CamTucker_Sport.