Colorado Avalanche: Is Matt Duchene Taking a Stand?

DENVER, CO - MARCH 7: Matt Duchene
DENVER, CO - MARCH 7: Matt Duchene /

Colorado Avalanche alternate captain Matt Duchene didn’t attend the first two captain’s camps of the season, stirring trade speculation.

The Colorado Avalanche started their training camp early. Veterans, rookies and prospects alike have already been taking the ice at Family Sports Center in Centennial, with a couple notable exceptions.

Today was the captain’s skate. As captain Gabriel Landeskog pointed out to the Denver Post, “Nobody has to be here but it’s a tradition that everybody gets in early, shows up [for captain’s skates] and is excited to get going.”

So, it’s a tradition that players show up for these skates. There were three notable exceptions, though — center Nathan MacKinnon, defenseman Nikita Zadorov and center Matt Duchene.

As of right now, Zadorov is still an unsigned restricted free agent. Presumably he’s still in his native Russia, where he can play for the KHL if he doesn’t sign with the Avalanche.

Mike Chambers shed some light on where Nathan MacKinnon is:

That leaves just Duchene. And here’s the rub — according to his own Instagram, he’s been in Vail to attend a wedding.

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Now might finally be the time to stop being even keel about the Duchene situation. He’s been on the trade block for going on two years. He admitted earlier this summer that he “burned out” back in January.

Matt Duchene may finally be taking a stand. He may be making a point that he want’s this trade to happen so he can get a fresh start with a new team.

And so that GM Joe Sakic won’t be dangling the trade  over his head like the proverbial sword of Damacles anymore. Indeed, Sakic confirmed to the Post  that he’s “taking offers” on Duchene.

Now, as the captain pointed out, no one is required to be at the captain’s practice. There is one coming up on both Wedesday and Thursday as well, but the official training camp doesn’t begin until September 14. And Landeskog expects Duchene to be there. He did say the following, though:

"“I talked a little bit with Dutchy. He’s not here; that’s not a secret. But we’ll have to wait and see. As of right now, he’s a part of the Avalanche organization… I don’t really know what else to tell you right now.”"

He also mentioned that “We all want to find a solution to this problem.”

Well, there’s actually two problems — no Zadorov and possibly Duchene trying to force a trade. Unfortunately for those of us who count ourselves Dutchy fans, the solution to both problems could well be a trade — Duchene for an NHL-ready defenseman. Colorado only has three under contract right now plus a gaggle of prospects.

I hope Matt Duchene comes down off the mountain to attend. I hope he doesn’t leave Colorado in this manner. (Though as the recent return of quarterback Brock Osweiler has shown, no exit has to be permanent.)

Next: Top 3 Duchene Moments with the Avs

The best case scenario for the Colorado Avalanche and Matt Duchene would be for Dutchy to start the season with the Avs and start out strong. Once his stock was back up, and there was no more drama surrounding the situation, the Avalanche could get the return they deserve for him.

And Matt Duchene won’t have left the only NHL team he’s known until know with negative thought about him.