Before the Colorado Avalanche report to training camp tomorrow, GM Joe Sakic met with the media to discuss various things including Milan Hejduk’s sweater retirement ceremony planned for this season. Inevitably, the conversation turned to the pressing issues of Matt Duchene and Nikita Zadorov, both of whom could miss part of camp with various holdouts. According to Mike Chambers of the Denver Post though, Sakic expects both to be present early on.
On Duchene, nothing has changed yet and Sakic expects everyone under contract to report to camp. The 26-year old center has been the topic of continuous trade speculation since before last year’s deadline, and several reports have come out saying that there is a possibility of a holdout. Duchene didn’t report to an optional “captain’s skate” earlier this month, and was one of the only ones not present for the club’s annual charity golf tournament.
Zadorov on the other hand is still negotiating his contract for next season, with the latest reports still having the two sides around $500K apart. For his part, Sakic says that they’re close enough together to expect him to be in camp, though whether that means he’ll be there on day one is still to be seen. While there has been a lot of speculation that Zadorov could return to the KHL this season if a contract can’t be done, it has seemed for a while like the two sides would eventually get something done.
Even though the Avalanche aren’t projected to be Stanley Cup or even playoff contenders this season, having players away from training camp is never a good thing. Having Duchene not report would only weaken Sakic’s position in trade talks, while Zadorov needs as much development time with the team as possible. Both players are already skating on their own, but showing up with teammates tomorrow is an important next step.
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