The long-awaited trade, and I mean long-awaited, has finally happened as the Colorado Avalanche have traded their 26-year-old franchise center Matt Duchene to the Ottawa Senators in a three-team trade with the Nashville Predators, according to Elliotte Friedman. Ottawa will send veteran center Kyle Turris to Nashville, while Colorado receives a package of players and picks.
According to Friedman, the Avalanche will receive defenseman Samuel Girard and winger Vladislav Kamenev from Nashville and center Shane Bowers and goaltender Andrew Hammond from Ottawa. The Avs will also receive Ottawa’s 2018 first-round pick (top-10 protected), Nashville’s 2018 second-round pick and Ottawa’s 2019 third-round pick in the deal. Friedman adds that if the Senators 2018 first-round pick falls in the top 10, then it rotates to a 2019 first-rounder instead.
As part of the deal, the Predators have extended Turris with a six-year, $36MM extension that ensures him a long-term place as the team’s second-line center.
Those three teams attempted to complete a similar deal yesterday, but the deal fell through and after it was leaked to the press, many thought the trade could not be revisited. However, with two disgruntled players in Duchene and Turris, the three teams were able to get the deal done. In fact, the team made the trade in the middle of their game with the New York Islanders as Duchene was informed and removed from the game during the first period of action. Ironically, he will join his new teammates in Sweden when they face off against the Avalanche for two games on Nov. 10 and 11.
Duchene, the team’s face of their franchise for the last several years, was the third overall pick in 2009 and has been a key scorer for the team over the past nine seasons. The 26-year-old center has scored 178 goals and 250 assists in 585 games for Colorado. However, as the team has struggled especially over the past three years, combining for 100-126-20 record, the disgruntled center had hoped to be traded, but the high demands of general manager Joe Sakic made it difficult for teams to acquire Duchene. Instead, an entire offseason of speculation only created more drama and when training camp opened and Duchene was still in Colorado, he demanded a trade. Part of the problem was Duchene’s poor performance last year when the team had 56 losses and the center’s numbers were down. He tallied just 18 goals and 41 points last year. Duchene rebounded slightly this year, having put up four goals and six assists in 12 games.
In Ottawa, Duchene replaces Turris, a long-time member of the franchise who has scored 117 goals for the Senators in seven season. Turris, who would have been a free agent next year, wanted a seven-year deal with the franchise and at age 28, the team was hesitant to give him that type of long-term deal, especially when they have already committed a lot of money to aging players such as Dion Phaneuf and Bobby Ryan. Duchene gives the franchise more time as he is locked into his five-year, 30MM deal until after the 2018-19 season. And, at age 26, is a little younger than Turris.
Turris gives the Predators the second-string center they needed. This allows free agent acquisition Nick Bonino to center the team’s third line and Colton Sissons and Calle Jarnkrok to battle it out on that final line. Now locked up for the next six years after this one, Turris should provide stability for the franchise up the middle. He had an impressive year last year, putting up 27 goals and 28 assists for 55 points. So far in 11 games this year, Turris has three goals and nine points.
As for the Avalanche, it looks as if Sakic got exactly what he was hoping for as the team got a large haul for Duchene. The key to the trade was Girard, an offensively-gifted defenseman, who still needs to work on his defense. Sometimes compared to Will Butcher, who the team lost to New Jersey this offseason, he should help stabilize their defense. The 19-year-old blueliner made the Nashville team out of training camp, but has still only played five games with Nashville, which will force Colorado to decide whether to keep him with their team and burn his first year of his entry-level deal or send him back to his junior team and not get him back until his season is over. The Predators second-round pick in 2016 has been impressive on a team loaded with quality defenseman, but has found himself watching games from the press box lately. An elite skater with excellent passing skills, Girard should be a key member of the team’s defense along with 2017 first-rounder Cale Makar.
Kamenev, the Predators’ 2014 second-round pick, has been playing with the Milwaukee Admirals this year and has put up solid numbers with three goals and five assists in nine games so far. Last year, the 21-year-old prospect put up 21 goals and 30 assists for Milwaukee. A solid skater with excellent hands and size (6-foot-2), he could easily fit on one of the team’s lower lines to start off.
Ottawa also moved one of their top prospects. Already loaded with Colin White, Logan Brown and Filip Chlapik, the team felt comfortable trading Bowers, their 2017 first-rounder. Picked 28th overall, the 18-year-old center is currently playing for Boston University and has four goals and two assists in 10 games for the Hockey East team. Ottawa also got a break in sending Hammond to Colorado. The 29-year-old former backup goaltender lost his job to Mike Condon last season and was eventually put on waivers and sent to Belleville. Not long after, Hammond suffered a hip injury that required surgery. He will likely be sent to San Antonio, providing goaltending insurance for the Avalanche. It frees up logjam of goalies the team has in Belleville as the team already has 31-year-old Daniel Taylor as the two veterans are holding up the team’s young goalies.
Colorado also will get two extra picks in a strong 2018 draft and now will have two first-round picks, two second-round picks and a third-round pick. The extra third-rounder will have to wait until 2019.