Colorado Avalanche: Is This the Week Matt Duchene Gets Traded?

DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 03: Matt Duchene
DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 03: Matt Duchene /

With the recent additions to the Colorado Avalanche at the forward position, and the lack of depth on the blue line, will Matt Duchene finally get traded?

When I first began to write about the Colorado Avalanche for this website, the Matt Duchene trade rumors were pretty quiet. As such, I have not yet thrown my two cents onto what has become a giant pile of money’s worth of Matt Duchene trade opinions. With recent additions to Colorado’s organization, the rumors have gotten louder, so here are my two cents.

Firstly, I believe that Duchene should be traded, preferably before the start of the season. I say this as a huge fan of Matt. Duchene is the name on the back of the only current Avalanche jersey I own. I think he is certainly a top six forward, and can be a top line forward, in the correct circumstances. However, I don’t know how the damage of the last couple of years is reversible.

As good as I think Duchene is, he plays a position where the Avalanche have a great deal of depth. In light of recent acquisitions, the Avs may have as many as 18 forwards battling for roster spaces. On the contrary, the Avs still only have 4 proven NHL defensemen, including Nikita Zadorov, who is still unsigned. A trade should go a long way in addressing that problem.

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With all that said, Joe Sakic cannot simply give Duchene away for any defensemen. The haul needs to be good. I believe that the key player in a Duchene trade should be a young, NHL ready d-man with oodles of potential. That position is not breaking new ground. I do have a few ideas as to where Duchene should be traded and what a return might entail. Here are my top three.

Carolina Hurricanes

A seemingly perfect fit for Matt Duchene, from as far back as the 2017 trade deadline, is the Carolina Hurricanes. Both the Avs and Canes are in a rebuilding phase, but have opposite strengths and weaknesses. Carolina has had problems scoring goals for years, and Duchy would go a long way to solving that problem. They also have an abundance of good, young defenseman.

All six of Carolina’s projected starting defensemen going into this season are 26 years old, or younger. The team signed Brett Pesce and Jacob Slavin to five year extensions, making them unlikely trade candidates. However, 20 year old, former first round pick, Noah Hanifin is entering the final year of his ELC.

In two NHL seasons, Hanifin has played all but three games, putting up 22 and 29 points respectively. The latter total would have been good enough for second on Colorado’s roster last year. He is also incredibly responsible in his own zone, especially for such a young player. I think that Hanifin would join EJ on the top pair as soon as he joined the team.

New York Rangers

A team that does not get brought up very often in Duchene trade rumors is the New York Rangers. I feel that a trade between the two would make a great deal of sense, if the Rangers would be willing to include Brady Skjei in a potential deal. The teams even have a recent history of trading with each other as the Colorado Avalanche sent Nick Holden to the Rangers last summer.

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The Rangers are trying to contend for a Stanley Cup this year, but have a glaring weakness at the center position. They traded their top line center, Derek Stepan, to the Coyotes, for a high draft pick this offseason. As yet, they have not replaced him. Duchene centering a top line with Mats Zuccarello and Chris Krieder would leave most NYR fans salivating.

New York also boasts a deep group of defensemen. The one that should interest Colorado is 23 year old, Brady Skjei. In his rookie year, Skjei put up 39 points, which would have led all Avalanche defensemen. He can also play more than adequate defense. I tend to doubt that the Rangers would be willing to move Skjei, but Sakic should certainly be asking.

Columbus Blue Jackets

The best, and among most frequently mentioned landing spots for Matt Duchene is Columbus. The Blue Jackets are in a contending position, coming off their best season in franchise history. They could, however, use an addition like Duchene, especially when trying to get over the hump of Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Even more importantly, the Jackets have a stable of young defensemen that Joe Sakic would love to add to the Avalanche roster. While Seth Jones and Zach Werenski would almost certainly be untouchable, Columbus still boasts 26 year old David Savard, 23 year old Ryan Murray, and 20 year old Gabriel Carlsson.

David Savard has been a solid contributor for the last four years, but may not have enough upside to be the feature piece in a Duchene trade. Ryan Murray has been inconsistent offensively through his first 220 NHL games, but his pedigree as the # 2 overall pick of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft may interest Joe Sakic, and the Avalanche.

Perhaps the most intriguing piece the Blue Jackets have to offer is Gabriel Carlsson. The first round pick has only appeared in 7 NHL games, but there is potential galore. Carlsson definitely falls into the prospect category, which would encourage the Jackets to add another piece to the trade. However, the Avs would almost certainly add the Swede to their NHL roster immediately.


The Colorado Avalanche are in an awkward position with Matt Duchene. I believe that both the team, and player would prefer a trade to be worked out. Duchene has been a very effective player, but last year’s poor showing for both player, and team has lowered his trade value. In order to trade him, Colorado needs to get a good haul for a player who just two years ago scored 30 goals.

All three teams mentioned above are in need of a scoring center. All three also have at least one high quality defensemen under the age of 25. Of the three options mentioned, I would most prefer Brady Skjei, but I doubt the Rangers would accept that trade. New York also has cap space issues to consider. I think that if a trade with Carolina was going to happen, it would have already.

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Therefore, I think Columbus makes the most sense, especially considering that they possess two potentially acceptable defensemen in Carlsson, and Murray. I think they would need to add a sweetener to either deal, since Duchene would clearly be the best player in the trade. Whatever happens, I hope there is closure, sooner, rather than later.