Duchene vs. Turris debate is evening out

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It’s not Matt Duchene‘s job to be “a first-round pick and futures” better than Kyle Turris. He’s not the one who determined the parameters of that three-team trade between the Nashville Predators, Colorado Avalanche, and Ottawa Senators, which also featured defensive prospect Samuel Girard.

For a while, the Senators dealt with the bitter sting of a fair point: Turris was producing at a far better rate than Duchene, with puck luck being hot for one and cruel for the other.

You can really see the power of regression in both of their paths, though, as Duchene’s now been feeling it while Turris’ production is drying up.

Take a look at Duchene’s split stats, via Hockey Reference. Even counting his first 14 games while he was still with Colorado, his shooting percentage has remarkably climbed every single month this season:

Duchene has been almost a point-per-game player in 2018, scoring six goals and eight assists for 14 points in 15 games. With 39 shots on goal during that time, it sure seems like Duchene is playing with confidence.

Turris, meanwhile, might benefit from the catharsis of returning to Ottawa to face his former team tonight.

Back in late December, Duchene was tiring of Turris comparisons, and understandably so. Turris began his Predators career red-hot, debuting in Nashville with 17 points in his first 18 games. It’s almost as if Duchene and Turris traded luck as the calendar turned, as Turris only has four points in 14 games in 2018.

Of course, things get bumpier when you zoom out.

The Predators have been red-hot lately, making quiet work from Turris easier to stomach (even if they’ll want him to get back on track eventually, what with that expensive extension). As fantastic as Duchene has been now that he’s getting the bounces that weren’t going his way before, things still look quite dire for the Senators overall.

As you can see from this series of tweets from Thomas Willis of the Predators, Duchene and Turris are now only separated by two points, yet their teams are in very different places since the big trade:

Fascinatingly, the Avalanche could very well stand as the winners of this move by a large margin, for all we know.

  • The Predators needed to give up a significant prospect in Girard, and extending Turris might force them to let a useful player walk in the future. Still, it’s easy to justify Nashville going bold, especially without giving up a regular. They stand as one of the better contenders in the West, and even a streaky Turris stands as a valuable weapon.
  • The Senators gave up multiple assets, including a first-rounder that will either cost them in 2018 or 2019. Beyond that, there were some other pieces. The goal was for Duchene to help an Ottawa team make the playoffs, and it’s not happening. Perhaps Duchene will re-sign for a reasonable rate and be a key piece in turning things around? At the moment, even with a rising Duchene, this trade still hurts.
  • The Avalanche, meanwhile, were in a bind and came out of the deal with Girard, picks, and maybe made it tougher for everyone else to get things done at the trade deadline. That move looked wise at the time, and only seems to look better as the months go along. Bravo.

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With Turris coming back to Ottawa, there will be some serious mixed feelings, and some might wonder if the Senators would have been better off keeping him around.

Even so, Duchene deserves credit for shaking off that rough start and showing why the Sens were so keen on acquiring him in the first place.

Unfortunately, Duchene hasn’t been so great that he’s been able to mask Ottawa’s other mistakes, and the bigger picture of the teams’ other decisions looms over much of this.

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.