The Matt Duchene era in Ottawa is over. The Columbus Blue Jackets have acquired Duchene and minor league defenseman Julius Bergman from the Ottawa Senators in exchange for a package including a 2019 first-round pick (top-3 protected) and prospects Vitaly Abramov and Jonathan Davidsson. While extension talks have not yet occurred between the Blue Jackets and Duchene, the team would give up an additional first-round selection in 2020 if he re-signs. The two teams play each other tonight in Ottawa.
This deal has huge implications for not only the two teams involved, but the entire league that was waiting for a price to be set on the very best rentals available at this year’s deadline. Duchene was one of three players considered the top tier of the market, along with former teammate Mark Stone and, coincidentally new teammate Artemi Panarin. The fact that the speedy center is heading to Columbus complicates matters, given that it now seems unlikely that the Blue Jackets would move on from Panarin after adding such a big name.
In fact, there may be reason for Columbus to add even more in the coming days. Despite not having seen playoff hockey since the 2013-14 season, Duchene remains an incredible talent that can take over a game with his speed and skill. The Blue Jackets, who currently sit one point behind the Carolina Hurricanes for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, likely see this opportunity as their best chance to finally win a playoff series, something the franchise has still never accomplished. The Metropolitan Division playoff spots are even still up for grabs, with third place Pittsburgh holding just a two-point lead on Columbus heading into tonight’s action.
Still, it’s a hefty price to pay for a player who is having a career year and will become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. Duchene has 58 points through 50 games and will likely break his previous highs of 30 goals and 70 points, but is completely unproven in the postseason. In a ten year NHL career, Duchene has played just eight playoff contests and has never scored a playoff goal.
Bergman, who also comes to Columbus in the deal is unlikely to spend much time in the organization. There have been reports recently that the Swedish defenseman will be heading back to the SHL after the 2018-19 season when his entry-level contract expires. The Senators needed to keep the number of contracts equal given their other upcoming moves and the fact that they are currently sitting just two spots under the 50-contract threshold.
The Blue Jackets did however avoid giving up the very best of their prospects. While Abramov is armed with incredible puck skills (perhaps among the best in the world), he is undersized and has weaknesses throughout his game. In 52 games with the Cleveland Monsters this season the 20-year old winger has 22 points, but also still holds a development ceiling of a first-line NHL player. If Ottawa can get him there they’ll have a star on their hands, but that’s far from guaranteed at this point.
Davidsson meanwhile is a sixth-round pick who has found real success in Sweden since being drafted. The 21-year old forward recorded 31 points in a breakout season in 2017-18, and has 20 through 35 games for Djurgardens this season while playing a bigger role. His ceiling may not be quite as high as Abramov’s, but there is a good chance that Davidsson will play NHL games at some point in the near future.
If you only look at this trade, it looks like a win for the Senators. Selling off an expiring asset during a lost season for potentially four valuable assets is a good way to build up your system and compete in the future. Unfortunately, Duchene leaves Ottawa with quite a bit of baggage that cannot be ignored. The Senators gave up a ton of value to acquire him from the Colorado Avalanche in the fall of 2017, sending out Kyle Turris, Shane Bowers, Andrew Hammond, a third-round pick and, most notably, an unprotected first-round selection.
That first-round pick did have a condition that the Senators could give up their top selection in either 2018 or 2019, but after finishing fourth in the draft lottery and staring at Brady Tkachuk on the board, Ottawa decided to push it to this season. The hope was that with some added youth and health the team would not find itself at the bottom of the standings again. Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened and Ottawa now sits in last place in the entire NHL and has the best shot at first overall in June’s draft. Colorado now owns that pick, meaning the Senators may very well have given up Jack Hughes in order to acquire Duchene for less than two seasons.
The Senators were never going to recoup full value for Duchene, but they do still have a chance to make this deadline a success. With this return plus potentially even more in trades for Mark Stone and Ryan Dzingel, the team can start their rebuild in full and hand the keys to a new wave of talent. The team already recalled Drake Batherson and Logan Brown today, and will still have at least three picks in the first two rounds in June.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images
I like the move in a nutshell, but man the cupboard is starting to get bare
I love these trades where a player literally walks right across the hallway and joins his new team
That return for the Senators seems like a joke. highway robbery
As a jackets fan I agree. Not a lot left in the system. My guess is this is setting up a Panarin to get some prospects and maybe a starter back
Two decent prospects and potentially two first rounders for a rental? That’s a great return.
I didn’t see that the Senators will potentially get 2 first rounders. That changes my opinion on the trade.
@brewcrew08 I’d love to see them keep Duchene and Panarin but there’s probably about a 0.1% chance of that happening so if they can flip Panarin and get more than they gave up for Duchene they might as well
how much do you think an expiring contract on a player who has said he has no interest in being on a rebuilder worth?
That’s a nice return but there’s no reason that none of these guys shouldn’t have been signed. It always comes back to Melnyk. I can’t believe the league lets him put a black eye on it over and over.
Well you know Ottawa will draft two players that never crack the NHL level…that’s just what they do.
I know prospects bust but seriously runbus? They have one of the leagues best farm systems and almost every one of the prospects came without a top 10 pick. If there’s one thing they do well, it’s drafting and developing.
my guess is they aren’t moving panarin or Bob, they aren’t happy with what they were offered and have decided they are all in this year
@runbus36 with the most out to lunch comment so far.
Not saying it won’t happen, but I’d be surprised if Panarin brings back a better haul than what Columbus gave up for Duchene. Centers are just naturally valued higher than wingers. Imo Panarin only brings back a bigger haul if a team overpays or if the team trading for him thinks they can convince him not to test free agency.
2nd time Duchene has been traded to the team he was facing next.
Even if they only got one that’s a hell of a deal for Ottawa
Good move on Jackets getting Duchene. for prospect and draft picks to help build on system for down the road, for Ottawa! What’s the record on traded to team they face next as Duchene did it when he went from Colorado to Ottawa during game I was watching when it happened.
another boneheaded trade. yes their hands were tied but they put themselves in that position. so they traded Turris, a 1st, hammond, etc. for a later first and a 3rd and 6th round draft prospect.
those saying the 2nd first rounder is good has to understand the Sens have not made a trade in the last year that didnt have a condition on a pick. it’s because they settle for what is offered and dont push back. “Hey our player is worth more, how about you give us another asset for all the success you may have”. Constant conditional picks shows the league this GM is weak and has zero leverage.
@theprice, The conditions on the Karlsson trade were ridiculous but this seems a little more resonable. Simply re sign him and they get another 1st. CBJ has to be thinking re sign him given their situation. Panarin is not playing there long term
@thepriceisright you can’t look at it in a vacuum like that. They got over 100 points and 1.5 years out of Duchene which was a massive upgrade over .5 of Turris. Yes, in hindsight that doesn’t matter. But if you’re taking Duchene out of the equation, you also have to take Turris and Hammond out.
And considering the prospects only as 3rd and 6th rounders is unfair. They’ve both had their value exponentially increase since their draft years. Abramov would’ve been the second biggest piece Ottawa would’ve gave up to Colorado after the first rounder anyways.
Dorion is a snivelling, spineless parasite constantly getting pushed around by the other GMs in trades. He’s really just a mouthpiece for Melynk to give the appearance like the organization knows what they’re doing, because you know there’s a collective groan anytime the owner lifts his head out of his bottle to speak. The black eye of the NHL.
I realize he’s the most minor part of the deal, but Bergman isn’t mentioned in any detail as to what value he’s bringing to Columbus or potential etc.
One of the things I like about PHR is that when trades happen there is always some synopsis of all aspects, even the minor ones that the “major” outlets gloss over. Just a thought.
That was an oversight, thank you. Bergman will be heading back to Sweden after the season. I’ve included a paragraph on it now.
it’s not a vacuum. it was a bad trade at the time and looks worse now. the fact is they could ha e locked up duchene last year long term. whe they couldn’t do that they should ha ve considered a trade in the offseason.
anyone who sees this as a great scenario is blind.
sure the second 1st is nice if he does resign (no guarantee), but the prospects aren’t guys who many expect to be front line guys. I’d rather have a likely top 4 pick and likely the first (second at worst) they could have got for Turris.
At the time they were going to make the playoffs. It didn’t work out. But nobody saw them falling off like this. Your argument doesn’t work like that though. Nobodies arguing that they would’ve been better off without making the trade. But you’re acting like this is a garbage return. It’s not. Abramov does have top 6 potential. Does he reach it? Who knows? But they got three or four pieces that all have a decent chance at the NHL. This was a very, very good return for a rental. That is undeniable. I feel like you want it to be worse than it actually is.
and JD Dorion is a great evaluator of talent. it’s why he was a scout for so long and well respected but as a GM he has been exposed as a poor negotiator whether because his hands are tied or because he’s just plain awful at it
At least that’s how you make it sound when you characterize the prospects as only third and sixth rounders. That’s not how you should ever value prospects or players, whether they were high or low picks.
at the time they were going to make the playoffs. lol it was a month into the season. that optimism is what lead to this disaster of a situation in the first place.
as for the “haul” they got in this trade, it’s not horrible but the fact is they should have known early on if they weren’t able to get duchene yo agree they should have flipped him. There is no way it should have gotten down to 3 days before deadline day. say whatever you want, this team is reactionary to everything and never proactive. they should have moved Duchene last summer but definitely not later than Mid-December when it was clear there was no long term deal coming.
Hindsight is 20/20 but smart hockey people saw this situation coming last July.
Jamie Benn was a fifth round pick. You can’t judge a player on what people thought of them in their draft year. Some grow to a higher potential than anyone thought. Some scouts said Giroux wouldn’t make it to the NHL and he scored 102 points last year
Tell us how you really feel.
Awesome – Your write ups are great Gavin.
Sens are a joke they have a lousy owner and the worst fans in the league . Good call on that Duchene to Blackhawks trade there JdGoat your sure are an expert like I told you no way he was going to Chicago. Sens suck always will!
yep ottawa definitely got a jamie Benn in this trade.
I never said he was going to Chicago. Why do you feel the need to be such a biased troll? And come on man your organization has been a dumpster fire for almost my entire life. The Sens aren’t going to be anywhere near as bad as Toronto was anywhere near as long. Especially once Melnyk sells.
You said Kruger and Anisimov shouldn’t exactly stop you from adding a number 1 center . Which I mentioned Toews is number 1 center and Strome was brought in to play with his former Erie Otter team teammate Debrincat. So no need to add him. Yes your original call was Nashville but then you mentioned he would fit as a number one in Chicago. Either way you were wrong.
Really resorting to name calling is the best you got? My organization I don’t own the team.
Who do you cheer for the sens?? The sens will be as bad for a long time. They have the worst owner/gm combo in the league luckily they got it right drafting Thachuk. It’s pretty sad when your best player is 19. He’s a heck of a player but the sens as a whole are a mess. Shoulda shipped our Hoffman right away EK they likely could kept. They’re a mess no one goes when they lose fans wise. When winning everyone suddenly is a fan.
My god man your right I’m sorry my 1 in 30 guess wasn’t correct. I’ll try and fix that. And it’s pretty obvious Matt Duchene could’ve moved someone out of their top 6 considering he’d be their third best forward. They most certainly could’ve been a fit. There’s absolutely no reason you had to call me out for something that little.
And yes I’m a Sens fan. But you know what? Our future is bright and we aren’t going to have near as long of a rebuild as Toronto, Buffalo, Arizona etc. The farm is already top 5 in the league with quality youngsters already on the big team and it’s pretty realistic to assume we’ll have 5-6 first rounders in the next two years and a pretty good chance at Lefreniere. The only reason for skepticism is Melnyk and that is a big problem. But once he’s gone, look out.
Ouch, Step #1 is admitting it. I take it you live in Ottawa? You’ve been to games this year??
I think you need to get your eyes checked your futures bright with what???? Who cares about Lef. Did Melynk not days he’s not gonna spend to the cap for another few years. What if what ifs is all sens banking on. The nhl is different then the farm. Guys could be top players and never amount to anything or be grinders and improve. Your talking like a typical fan of a losing team our future common man. Live in the present! I’m sure your next to say next year.
JD the sens system is not top 5. it might be there after all these trades but isn’t yet and the biggest issue is there is no superstar coming up. Tkachuk is good but he’s not a game changer by himself.
As for the rebuild, the leads rebuild was really like 2-3 seasons. The coyotes a lot longer and buffalo in between. the difference is buffalo and the leafs sped up their rebuilds with franchise #1 players. the Sens dont have that chance because of the boneheaded decisions last year.
the future might be bright but I think you are incredibly optimistic with your timeline.
Lmao thank you leaf fans for your unbiased opinions.
Diagle and Yashin sum up the sens franchise . Coulda kept Chara kept redden lots of great moves. Let’s not forget your bitterness comes from the Leafs owning the sens every playoff!!
All that matters is who wins a cup. When’s the last time ottawa won one???
I’d hate to see your other 29 guesses. Not a chance he woulda fit in Chicago’s top 6 lol. You must have hit your head might wanna go get that checked out by a dr. Third best forward on Chicago after Toews Kane and Debrincat clearly you’ve lost your marbles ! Cause the call you made clearly was one after some bad decisions.
JD I am a leaf fan but as someone who lives in Toronto and follows the Sens quite closely I can tell you without bias that comparing the two rebuilds is insane. There are three main differences between the two. 1. the leafs ownership stays out of decision making and let’s hockey people make decisions. 2. the leafs financial abilities and connections cant be matched. Yes there is a cap but look how the leafs structure contracts. Look at the potential marketing and sponsorship opportunities for players. the situations aren’t comparable. 3. The biggest one is the leafs luck in landing Matthews. The sens dont have that game changer. they could potentially have had that with Hughes but we will never know now.
I appreciate you are a fan and are trying to be optisimistic, but the situations are different and I worry with Dorion and Melnyk leading a rebuild that the Sens rebuild will be much longer than some expect.
Well said Price hit the nail on the head with that one!