What are you expecting to get from Matt Duchene if you trade for him? A Calder Trophy finalist in his rookie season, Duchene’s production has been all over the map in his eight-season career. Peaking as nearly a point-per-game player in 2012-13 and 2013-14 (43 points in 47 games and 70 in 71 respectively), his totals have tumbled since. For two years Duchene dipped into the 55-point range, totals that equate to his rookie production — notably he reached 30 goals in one of those seasons. This past season’s 41 points was the worst mark of his career over a full schedule. So although the Avalanche probably should be looking to move him for some young assets or at least help on defence while Duchene is still two years away from unrestricted free agency, his value may be at the lowest point of his career. The Avalanche had the worst season of any NHL team since the 2004-05 lockout, so the pressure is on to win any Duchene trade. The reported asking price is high, which hasn’t squared with how interested teams view Duchene fitting into their lineup. “People look at him as a complementary No. 2 as opposed to a No. 1 cornerstone,” Elliotte Friedman said on Prime Time Sports Thursday evening. Although Duchene hasn’t been traded yet, it’s still possible a contender will come knocking and meet Colorado’s asking price to add that secondary piece. And in a better situation, who says Duchene can’t approach his career-high totals once more? Throwing his trade value further into question is Duchene’s contract, which doesn’t come with an unreasonable cap hit at $6 million, but the issue is term. The 26-year-old would head to any acquiring team just two years away from unrestricted free agency so he’s not a very controllable asset. Who are the teams Duchene could still end up on? We take a crack and breaking down five of them: New York Islanders The Islanders may not exactly fall into the category of “contender” but they are a team that needs to have more of an interest in improving in the short-term. John Tavares is entering the final season of his contract before he’ll become UFA eligible, and he’ll want to see the team making strides towards becoming a legit contender before re-upping for the long haul. The Isles have made three playoff appearances and have won one series in his eight years with the team. GM Garth Snow has already brought in Jordan Eberle, presumably to play on Tavares’ wing, and picking up first- and second-round picks in the Travis Hamonic trade gives him a few more futures to potentially improve the team now. In this sense, Duchene could be a nice fit as that complementary piece on the Islanders as the No. 2 centre behind Tavares.
Analyzing five potential trade destinations for Matt Duchene
Sportsnet | Jul 14