The trade the entire hockey world has been anticipating for almost a year was completed in shocking fashion on Sunday night as the Colorado Avalanche finally put an end to the Matt Duchene saga. Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic pulled the trigger on a massive three-way trade involving his superstar center and two other NHL franchises.
As first reported by Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, the Avalanche, Ottawa Senators and Nashville Predators turned this into a blockbuster transaction, which involved six players and three draft picks.
Sakic shipped Duchene to the Ottawa Senators, where he will take over top-line center duties.
In exchange, the Sens sent goalie prospect Andrew “the Hamburgler” Hammond and blue-chip prospect Shane Bowers, selected 28th overall in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, to Colorado. In addition, Ottawa’s 2018 first-round pick is headed to Colorado, though it is top-10 protected.
Note: OTT 2018 1st to COL is top 10-protected. If OTT ends up there, Sens have option to keep. If they do, COL gets 2019 1st no matter what.
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) November 6, 2017
The Sens also sent the team’s 2019 third-round pick to the Avs.
After receiving Duchene from the Avalanche, the Senators traded top-six center Kyle Turris to the Nashville Predators.
In addition, Nashville sent forward prospect Vladislav Kamenev to Colorado, as well as potential future first-pairing defenseman Samuel Girard, who impressed in his short stint with the Preds this season and did not look out of place on the talented Nashville blue line.
Lastly, the Preds also shipped the team’s 2018 2nd-round pick to Sakic as part of the deal.
The trade was almost a year in the making as Duchene formally requested a trade last Christmas, Sakic revealed after the completion of Sunday’s trade. But Sakic showed great patience to get the package he desired. He stood behind his trade demands of a top defenseman, a first-round pick and a talented prospect, which delayed the move.
Instead of getting assets from one team, however, which proved to be unrealistic and, quite possibly, impossible, Sakic turned to a three-way deal and acquired blue-chip prospects and solid draft picks from two separate organizations. Since the Predators had shown extreme interest in Turris and the Senators had strong interest in Duchene, the deal made sense for all three parties, and all three teams can be considered winners.
G Andrew Hammond
F Shane Bowers
D Samuel Girard
F Vladislav Kamenev
2018 1st-round pick (top-10 protected)
2018 2nd-round pick
2019 3rd-round pick
C Matt Duchene
C Kyle Turris
The Senators get the player with the most talent and upside in Duchene. The 26-year-old was originally drafted third overall by the Avalanche in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft and has played his entire career with the Avs. He has 10 points in 14 games this season and has recorded 178 goals and 428 points in 586 career regular-season contests. The possibilities are endless when you add his speed and skill to the Senators lineup, a team that is already greatly underrated around the league. Duchene will be a true first-line center for this team; though Turris is great, he is better suited for second-line duties.
The Predators receive a highly-talented center in Turris, who will fit perfectly in the lineup behind Ryan Johansen and ahead of Nick Bonino, who thrived as a third-line center in Pittsburgh. Turris, 28, was also drafted third overall in his draft class; he has nine points in 11 games this season and has 136 goals and 320 points in 544 career regular-season games with the Coyotes and Senators. Turris has an incredible skill set and is capable of putting up 65-70 points a year, which is not too far off what Duchene has produced throughout his career in the Mile High City.
Significantly, Turris signed a six-year, $36 million extension with the Predators shortly after the deal was announced Sunday night. It’s clear he will be a big part of Nashville’s plans moving forward.
This deal clearly makes the Ottawa and Nashville franchises even stronger Cup contenders after both teams reached at least the Conference Finals last season. Both teams make clear statements that these organizations are going for it, especially since this trade was completed so early this season after last year’s successful campaigns.
The True Winner
However, as it stands now, I believe the true winner of this trade is the Colorado Avalanche.
Colorado is coming off the worst season in franchise history after earning just 48 points and finishing 30th in the NHL standings. This team needs to enter a true rebuild mode, and this move gives the team a chance to do so with more depth and assets in the wings. It strengthens the depth in the organization and, not to be underestimated, closes the book on a controversial chapter that has dragged on for a long time. Though Duchene maintained nothing but professionalism in his exit interview and his actual departure after yesterday’s trade was completed during the Avalanche-Islanders game, it is time for him and the Colorado organization to move on. After all, Duchene comes out of this a winner as well.
— Matt Duchene (@Matt9Duchene) November 6, 2017
In a twist of true irony given the up-and-down nature of this situation, Duchene will play his first two games as an Ottawa Senator against the Colorado Avalanche as the two teams fly to Stockholm, Sweden as part of the SAP NHL Global Series.
But this move is also a win for Sakic, who proves to us all that having some patience definitely can pay off. He fell under intense scrutiny for how he handled this ordeal. Often, critics felt his asking price was too steep. But Sakic knew exactly what he had in Duchene, one of the top young players in the game. In the end, he held out for exactly what he wanted: a boatload of assets to secure his franchise’s future in exchange for a player that wanted out.
Sakic was able to stand his ground, and he set up his team for bigger and better things in the future.
Job well done, Mr. Sakic.
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