Colorado Avalanche: Matt Duchene can Choose his Exit

DENVER, CO - MARCH 29: Matt Duchene
DENVER, CO - MARCH 29: Matt Duchene /

Matt Duchene can choose to exit the Colorado Avalanche organization with the grace and class he showed throughout his career here.

We all remember Matt Duchene’s entrance to the Colorado Avalanche. He had been such a huge Avs fan growing up. Colorado had the third-overall pick in his draft year, and it looked good that Matt would be coming to his dream team.

That is what happened, even though he himself had nothing to do with it (beyond being a top-three caliber player). And it does seem very likely that he won’t have much control in leaving the team.

Except he kind of does. Matt Duchene can choose to leave the team with the grace and class he showed the entire eight years he was here.

Right now, that’s not a sure thing. Last we heard he was up in Toronto skating. Most other players around the NHL have made their way to their hockey hometown so they can get ready for the upcoming season. Duchene being up in Toronto doesn’t bode well.

Some people are beginning to question if he might fail to show up for camp and maybe hold out for a trade.

In a way, you really can’t blame him for wanting to. Ever since his slump in October of 2015, his name has been associated with trades. That’s two years. It was an especially hot topic all last season when he had to answer questions about a potential trade every single interview. He’s had to continue to answer those questions in the offseason.

It is, in fact, a certain form of torture in interrogation — ask the same question over and over with a little variance. That’s what Matt Duchene has had to put up with for a solid year now. It’s no wonder he didn’t want to come to optional captain’s skates after which he’d be bombarded with the same old questions.

And GM Joe Sakic has done nothing to squash the rumors. He hasn’t said the Avalanche aren’t trading Duchene. Rather, he’s said over and over that the team is listening to offers for him. Yet he hasn’t pulled the trigger on said trade either.

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That’s not fair to the player. Matt Duchene doesn’t deserve that. He’s always treated this team fairly. He didn’t deserve to have reporters torturing him at every turn and Sakic adding to the torment.

I don’t know why Sakic has chosen to treat Duchene this way. If it were just a business matter, he would have traded Duchene the summer of 2016 when he was coming off a 30-goal season.

It’s likely other GMs have balked at giving Sakic his ask — an NHL-ready defenseman, a forward prospect and a draft pick. But that’s what negotiation is all about. No, dragging it out this long is bordering on negligence, especially as the team needs a strong rebound season after last year’s 48-point debacle.

Well, here’s Matt Duchene’s chance to be the bigger person.

Duchene needs to come to training camp. He needs to work hard in the preseason and regular season, if the trade doesn’t happen right away. He needs to quash the rumors that he gave up on the team last year — a whole lot of players failed to play their best hockey for the Avs last year.

Even if you think Matt Duchene mailed it in toward the end of last season and hasn’t shown total composure in this pre-preseason, Dutchy gave us a lot throughout the years. It all started with that draft:

I don’t think any of us want to see the Matt Duchene era of the Colorado Avalanche end with a holdout.

Be the bigger person, Dutchy. Show them you’ll hold your head high no matter how ineptly they treat your inevitable trade.