The absolute worst thing the Colorado Avalanche could do, something that could set them back for years, is to trade center Matt Duchene badly. It’s bad enough that they’re likely to trade the man who’s been their best player for years. However, if they fail to get adequate return, the entire front office should just resign.
It’s been said time and again that GM Joe Sakic wants a prospect, a draft pick and an NHL-ready defenseman for Matt Duchene. He must not deviate from this. He must accept no less than a first rounder, a decent defenseman and a decent prospect. No second rounders or later. No untried prospects in lieu of a proper defenseman. No low-pick prospects.
There really is no reason to trade Matt Duchene. So, he had a bad season. He had a career-best 30 goals the previous season and a career-best 70 points three seasons ago. Therefore Sakic can’t afford to trade him badly — no one else still on the Avalanche has actually bested those numbers.
And if Sakic absolutely must trade Duchene, keep him out of the Central Division. Even better, trade him to an Eastern Conference team. Former Avs tend to do so well against Colorado. We can’t afford to have Matt Duchene shining against the Avs three to five times a season.
The unfortunate truth is that at least a few of these actions, or inactions, will come to pass. If they all come to pass — especially a bad trade that takes Matt Duchene out of Colorado with too little in return — the team could be crippled for years to come.