Matt Duchene is an Ottawa Senator, and his former team got A LOT in return.
Sometimes, the sports world can throw you for a loop.
On November 3, hockey insiders across the Internet announced that the Colorado Avalanche, Ottawa Senators, and Nashville Predators had stalled on a three-way trade that would have seen Avalanche center Matt Duchene head to Canada’s capital, while Senators center Kyle Turris would have found a new home in Nashville. The Predators, in return, would have presented Colorado with a gift basket of picks and prospects. The trade was considered dead.
There were a multitude of reasons for the trade’s failure: the Senators’ salary cap situation would have been offset by the addition of someone as expensive as Duchene, who has a $6 million cap hit as compared to Turris’ $3.5 million salary. Turris would become an unrestricted free agent at the conclusion of this season anyway, and TSN analyst Pierre LeBrun noted that negotiations between Nashville and Turris had never gotten to the point of actually planning a contract extension. To top things off, the Predators apparently nixed the notion that defenseman Mattias Ekholm would be sent to Colorado.
It seemed like this trade was destined to go down as one of the ‘what-ifs’ of hockey history. But then, miraculously, in the middle of a game against the New York Islanders on November 5, Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic pulled it off. Well, not exactly: the Avalanche didn’t get Ekholm, but they did receive a massive return.
From the Senators, they got goaltender Andrew Hammond, forward Shane Bowers (the 28th overall pick in the 2017 NHL Draft), and both a first-round 2018 draft pick and a third-round 2019 one. They were also gifted a second-round pick from the Predators alongside defenseman Samuel Girard and forward Vladislav Kamenev.
So, Matt Duchene (428 points in 585 NHL games) is now an Ottawa Senator. Kyle Turris (320 points in 544 NHL games) is now a Nashville Predator. And the Avalanche got a whole lot better for the foreseeable future. Still, all teams seem to have had their wishes granted. Ottawa receives a player who they’ve had their eyes on for quite a while:
Sources say Senators GM has been pursuing Duchene since mid-September and discussions heated up in last couple of weeks.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) November 4, 2017
Sakic not only gets to take the albatross of Duchene trade rumors off his neck, but also vastly improved his team with a slew of valuable picks and a few potential superstars. Bowers scored an impressive 84 points in 116 games in the USHL, and has six points in ten games this year with Boston University. Girard has three points in five games with the Predators this season. These two are the icing on the cake of the trade, as they’re only 18 and 19 years old, respectively.
Kamenev has amassed 96 points in 166 AHL games, and he’s only 21. Hammond, the 29-year-old veteran, has a .925 save percentage and a 2.61 GAA this season in the AHL, and he’ll serve as a reliable third-string netminder if he isn’t flipped to another team.
The Predators, meanwhile, find in Turris a solid second-line center to help the team until Nick Bonino returns from the injured reserve, and they accomplished this without giving away Ekholm or any of their other top-four defensemen. They also signed him to a six-year, $36 million contract.
One interesting aspect of the transaction will be the involvement of the NHL Global Series, which will see the Avalanche and Senators face off in Stockholm, Sweden on November 10 and 11. Duchene faces his old team for the first time on an international stage. The timing of the games comes at an inopportune time for both teams. The Avalanche are in a Central Division where they’re tied with three other teams at 16 points, and the Senators have the Bruins and Red Wings nipping at their heels in the standings, with 15 points compared to Ottawa’s 17.
Turris’ Predators won’t battle against his old team until February 8.
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