Colorado Avalanche: Matt Duchene Situation Overblown

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 12: Matt Duchene
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 12: Matt Duchene /

The Colorado Avalanche are likely to trade center Matt Duchene because hearsay and rumors blew up the situation.

One of the Colorado Avalanche’s best forwards, Matt Duchene, is getting traded. It’s a foregone conclusion. The player wants the trade. There’s bad blood. He’s a locker room problem.

Hogwash. The Matt Duchene situation is an example of the media taking commentary out of context then blowing it completely out of proportion.

Origin of the Trade Rumor

Back in October 2016, Matt Duchene had one of his characteristic goal scoring slumps. He goes through them pretty much every year. However, the team was under a microscope after winning the Central Division then not making the playoffs.

So, as it their wont, sports reporters asked Duchene again and again about his goal scoring slump. About that time, rumors started that Duchene might be on the trade block. The player was in a slump. Colorado must be fixing to cut him lose.

Instead, then-coach Patrick Roy took Duchene aside and offered him pointers on how to regain his goal-scoring mojo. (My perception of Coach Roy was he didn’t instruct players he’d given up on — ask P.A. Parenteau how much one-on-one he got before being shipped off.) Duchene went on a goal-scoring tear and eventually made his career-best of 30 goals that season.

However, the stage had been set. Matt Duchene struggles. Matt Duchene is on the trade block.

Duchene’s and Sakic’s Words on the Trade

Here’s what Matt Duchene said to the Denver Post back in January about being traded:

"“I’m open to [a trade]. When I say open to it, I know it’s part of the business, and it’s something that might happen. I’m not hiding from it. I’m not running away. I’m not banging my head. I understand it’s part of what we deal with as pro athletes.”"

Unless there’s some secret interview in which Matt Duchene stated directly that he wants a trade,  all we’ve got is Duchene admitting he’s “open” to being traded because “it’s part of the business.”

On GM Joe Sakic‘s side, we have him stating over and over that he’s only going to make deals that improve the Colorado Avalanche. He did say that the only untouchables were Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen.

So, the general manager didn’t include a certain player in a very short list of untouchables, and said player acknowledged that getting traded is part of what pro athletes have to deal with. That’s it.

Two comments on their statements. One, Duchene has been asked for going on two years about being traded. At the time he made the above comment, it was a solid year. What was he supposed to do? Whine and say he didn’t want to be traded? He needed to own up to responsibilities, and he did so.

Two — Sakic is being cruel to Duchene. Why did he ever state there were or were not untouchables to the media? He’s known as being Quoteless Joe — why change that now and in such a cruel way?

Matt Duchene Trade

More from Mile High Sticking

The cold reality is that Matt Duchene probably is going to get traded. It’s not so much that Colorado Avalanche are going to do what the media wants. Rather, if you hear something enough times, you do eventually believe it.

Matt Duchene wants a trade. Matt Duchene is a locker room problem. Even Matt Duchene’s agent is getting angry.

Eventually what everyone is treating as a foregone conclusion becomes a foregone conclusion.

Is Joe Sakic listening to trade offers about Duchene? Clearly. However, as a GM, it’s his job to listen to all offers. If someone calls wanting Nathan MacKinnon, he should at least listen. What if they offer the world?

Has Sakic set a price for Duchene? Yes — a pick, a prospect, an NHL-ready defenseman. That’s pretty much the going price for a top-6 forward, though, so it’s not like he had to put a lot of thought into it.

Can Joe Sakic improve the team by trading Matt Duchene? Yes, if he sticks to his guns.This wasn’t the Ryan O’Reilly situation with a player wanting a fat contract — Duchene is signed through two more years. Sakic can afford to wait.

Next: Matt Duchene Dishes Out Credit

But it’s very frustrating to see that the Colorado Avalanche are probably going to trade away one of their best players because the rumor mill has gotten the better of everyone.