10:50am: Duchene indeed reported to camp, but would not take questions from the media. His statement, from Mike Chambers of the Denver Post:
I’m here to honor my contract. I’m here out of respect for the fans, and I’m here for my teammates. I had a great summer training and I’m in great physical condition.
8:13am: Even though Colorado Avalanche GM Joe Sakic said yesterday that he thought Nikita Zadorov could attend camp because the two sides were so close, Chris Johnston of Sportsnet reports that this will not be the case. The restricted free agent remains unsigned, and will not suit up with teammates today when camp opens.
Matt Duchene on the other hand is in town according to Adrian Dater of BSN Denver, and is expected to be with the team today. Duchene had been skating on his own in Toronto, skipping both the optional “captain’s skate” and team’s charity golf tournament.
The last report has Zadorov and the Avalanche just $500K apart, meaning Sakic is probably correct in his assumption that the deal is close. Still, that has seemed to be the gap between the two sides for some time. If a contract can’t be reached, Zadorov has said in the past that he will play in the KHL, something the Avalanche want to avoid if possible. While they’re not expected to compete this season, letting Zadorov walk and get a taste of life in the KHL is a risky proposition. Not only would his development with the team stall, but there is always a chance of him never returning to the NHL.