The Colorado Avalanche sweetened the trade market for themselves with the Matt Duchene trade. The trade deadline is February 26.
The Colorado Avalanche made the blockbuster trade of the year when they sent Matt Duchene to Ottawa. Here’s how the trade looked:
- Colorado Avalanche sent Matt Duchene to Ottawa Senators
- Ottawa Senators sent Shane Bowers, Andrew Hammond, 2018 1st-round draft pick, 2019 3rd-round draft pick to Colorado Avalanche
- Ottawa Senators sent Kyle Turris to Nashville Predators
- Nashville Predators sent Samuel Girard, Vladislav Kamenev, 2nd-round draft pick to Colorado Avalanche
At the time of the trade, I was emotional at losing one of my favorite players. I essentially likened the direct return for Duchene to seven lottery tickets:
- Samuel Girard, rookie NHL defenseman
- Vladislav Kamenev, rookie forward
- Andrew Hammond, NHL/AHL goalie
- Shane Bowers, prospect
- 2018 first-round draft pick (Ottawa’s, conditional)
- 2019 third-round draft pick (Ottawa’s)
- 2018 second round draft pick (Nashville’s)
One of those lottery tickets has a goal and 10 assists for the Avs. Another played three shifts before sustaining a big injury that has kept him out sense. A third lottery ticket sat on the bench in backup to backup Jonathan Bernier. The other four are still unplayed lottery tickets.
That’s not a ton of return just yet for a player who was top-four on the Avs for scoring in eight of his eight-and-a-half seasons he played here (He was leading the team when he was traded). He was tops in five of those.
I know the trade was for the future. Last point on this before I continue on my real point — with star center Nathan MacKinnon out two to four weeks (or more) exposing the team’s lack of depth, wouldn’t it be nice to still have Duchene on the team? Before you bring up the “He didn’t want to be here argument, remember he finished second on the team last season and led the team this season in scoring when he “didn’t want to be here.”
Anyway, moving on, it’s not important whether I think the Avalanche got a haul for Matt Duchene. Rather, it’s the fact that the media, the fans, and, especially, the other general managers think Colorado got a haul for Duchene — and it’s affected the trade market.
The Duchene trade has so thoroughly affected the trade market that Elliotte Friedman of Calgary’s Sportsnet 960 thinks this year will be a seller’s market. He added, “Because of what Colorado got for Duchene, there’s a real feeling of ‘We’ve got to do really well to justify this,’ and I think the buyers are looking at them and saying, ‘Some of you guys are nuts’.”
In other words, the ask for any even remotely star-caliber player is going to be inordinately high. Even a short-term (and tarnished) rental like Evender Kane has a high ask price.
Here’s the rub. It’s a seller’s market, and the Avs don’t really have any star-caliber players left that they’re willing to sell. MacKinnon and winger Mikko Rantanen have always been off limits, and I don’t see Gabriel Landeskog or even Tyson Jost being put on the trade block. That’s ok — there is no rational reason to get rid of any of those players.
On the flip side, high price tags on premium players might mean opponent GMs are willing to look at the next tiers of players up for grabs. Colorado has some nice journeymen:
They also have a couple decent skill players in Sven Andrighetto and Nail Yakupov. If teams are unwilling to pay a prospect, NHLer and draft pick for a premium player, they might throw a draft pick or prospect on the table for one of the above players.
I like every single one of the players on that list, but not a single one of them is part of the foundation of Colorado’s rebuild. We’re going to lose them sooner rather than later. It would be nice if the Avalanche could get something in return.
Of the players not mentioned anywhere in this post, there are only two who might yield a significant return — Nikita Zadorov and Tyson Barrie. I don’t see the Avs trading Zadorov. And I think they’ll save Barrie for a draft-day trade.
So, as much as my sentimental heart hated the Matt Duchene trade, I have to admit Joe Sakic put the Colorado Avalanche in a good position with it. Not only did he get some nice lottery tickets in return, but he created a trade market that might ultimately benefit the Avs.