Colorado Avalanche: Finding a Home for Matt Duchene

Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /

If the Colorado Avalanche trade Matt Duchene, they need to find a good home for him.

During the Colorado Avalanche’s 4-0 win against the Montreal Canadians last night, Matt Duchene was a frequent topic of discussion by Altitude TV analysts Mike Haynes and Peter McNab.

As usual, Dutchy was flying; protecting the puck down low, dangling the puck with his speed and quickness and winning 71% of his faceoffs.

Although Duchene finished with zero points, he was close to hitting the twine more than a couple times, including a backhand that bounced of the inside of the post.

More from Mile High Sticking

After each of these misses that could’ve easiliy amounted to a hattrick, Hayne’s and McNab joked about Duchene’s obvious frustration shown by his strong body language.  At one point, Hayne’s commented that Duchene is a player that “truly wears his heart on his sleeve.”

In the back of my mind as I watched this game was the thought that this could be one of Matt’s last games in a Colorado Avalanche sweater.  Trade rumors have highlighted Duchene for weeks now and the likelihood he gets moved between now and the 2017 entry draft are high.

Of the many teams that have shown interest in Duchene, the Montreal Canadiens are one that have appeared in rumors consistently in the last weeks.

As I watched the Avs play the Habs I wondered if Duchene  had imagined himself in the Le-Bleu-Blanc-Rouge Canadiens sweater.  Actually, as I watched his flashy and focused play I wondered if maybe he wasn’t putting on a little preview or audition for one of his future homes.

Having grown up in Canada and represented them on numerous occasions, including gold medal winning Olympic, World Championship and World Cup teams, not to mention his obvious passion for the game, playing for the ultra-passionate Montreal Canadiens seems like a perfect fit for Duchene.

Duchene’s passion for the Colorado Avalanche has been well documented since his youth, and while Avs fans love him, his dedication has never paid off in Colorado.  He deserves to play for a franchise and fanbase as passionate as him – maybe the Montreal Canadiens?

The Canadiens have reportedly shown interest in Duchene and have the assets to work out a deal.  Maybe Nathan Bealieu, Tomas Plekanec and a pick for Duchene and something else?

While I don’t want to see Matt go, I can easily picture him in the Canadien’s sweater playing in a 1/2 center combo with Alex Galchenyuk.

Maybe it’s a way to deal with the mourning that will come if Duchene is traded, but I’ve found myself thinking over trade scenarios that would see Matt put in a good situation with a chance to succeed.

Montreal is definitely a possibility, here are some other fits:

Nashville Predators

Much has been said about the Nashville Predators interest in Duchene. Aside from the downside of trading him to a team in the division, this could be a good trading partner for the Colorado Avalanche, and a great fit for Duchene personally.

Not only could the Predators use some extra scoring punch, but they likely remember Duchene’s memorable appearance at the 2016 All Star weekend hosted in Nashville.

During the weekend Duchene endeared himself to local fans by donning a cowboy hat during the Breakaway Challenge and joining country music singer Lee Brice on stage with his guitar the night before.

For the passionate, enthusiastic and borderline quirky Nashville fan base, it’s hard to imagine Duchene not fitting in as a member of the Preds.

On the ice, the Preds have adopted a more up-tempo, offensive minded style than their days as a defensive team.

Defender Roman Josi and P.K. Subban push the attack from the backend. Forwards Ryan Johansen and Filip Forsberg are flush with skill and creativity, making  perfect teammates for Duchene.

Rumors have consistently suggested a package of defender Mattias Ekholm, prospect Kevin Fiala and a pick would be enough to get Duchene.  However, it is unlikely Preds GM David Poile is wiling to pay this high price.

Either way, this is a potential match, and one that would see Duchene in a friendly, competitive franchise with a fan base that would love him.

Carolina Hurricanes

Off all the teams interested in adding Duchene, the Hurricane’s seem to have the most assets to interest the Colorado Avalanche.   It is common knowledge the the Avs are seeking defensive depth and no team has more in the way of young prospects and players than the Hurricanes.

Anyone of Jacob Slavin, Brett Pesce, Roland Mckeown, Jake Bean, Haydn Fleury, or hopefully, but not likely, Noah Hanifin could be offered as part of a package to the Colorado Avalanche, along with another player and/or pick.

For Duchene, the Hurricanes are an intriguing possibility.  The Canes are a team on the rise that could be competitive for a number of years.  GM Ron Francis has carefully collected blue chip prospects that are just now coming together as a team.

The top six is full of young players that are creative, skilled and quick – Matt would fit right in.  Jeff Skinner, Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen all have the skills to compliment his game immensely.

Although this could be a great match on paper, the Canes have to decide if they want to add another small forward to their top six and if they’re wiling to give up one of their young forwards in return, along with a defender.

Personally, I’d love the Canes as a trading partner, especially if the Avs could get one of their young defenders and forwards in return.  However, the Canes have alot to consider and investing heavily in Duchene may not best move for them.

Still, as another non-traditional, Southern market like Nashville, maybe Duchene and his love for country music can find a home.

New York Rangers

Surprisingly, there haven’t been many rumors connecting the Rangers to Duchene.  Maybe the Blueshirts are done with their blockbuster trade addiction or they’re happy with the team they have now.

Nonetheless, Duchene would be a great fit for the Rangers and it’s foolish to assume they haven’t taken interest.  In fact, it was reported that the Ranger’s sent scouts to last nights game against the Canadiens.   

Unlike any other team, the Ranger’s cant seem to resist adding star players.  Probably something to do with the whole New York City vibe.

Whatever their motivations, Duchene would be the kind of flashy, exciting star scorer their team has been lacking, but also one that the fans would love.  Madison Square Garden seems a perfect stage for Duchene.

Unfortunately, for the Colorado Avalanche, the Rangers may not have the assets Sakic is looking for.  Although they have depth forwards to offset the loss of Duchene, they may not have a defensive prospect to offer the Avs.

Adding a young defender seems to be a priority for Sakic and if the Rangers have no one to offer, this trade may be a non-starter.  However, I can’t help imaging Duchene basking in the limelight of Broadway and Madison Square Garden.


At this point, all trade talk surrounding is purely speculative.  It’s not even a foregone conclusion he’ll be moved, although it seems likely.

Related Story: Time to Trade Matt Duchene

Although his focus will be on securing an equal return for Duchene, I’d like to think that Sakic will also consider what’s best for Duchene, one of the most dedicated players in franchise history.

Although I hate to imagine Duchene playing for another team than the Colorado Avalanche, I hope that if he gets moved it’ll be to a team that will provide him with the opportunities he hasn’t found in Denver.