The Ottawa Senators Were Not the Winners of the Matt Duchene Trade
It's a really bad sign when you're involved in a trade with Avalanche GM Joe Sakic and come away looking worse than him.
Photo by Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Duchene got his wish Sunday, as he was traded from the Colorado Avalanche to the Ottawa Senators in a three-way deal. It's possible Duchene misunderstood when, before granting the wish, the genie asked, "Would you like to be the centerpiece of a three-way?" and he answered so quickly he didn't realize it meant spending two years in Ottawa.
So who were the winners and losers in this mega-deal that also involved Kyle Turris going to the Nashville Predators and a whole bunch of mostly futures going to the Avalanche from the Senators and Predators?
Kyle Turris — Moving from Ottawa to Nashville is a hockey rags to riches story in every way possible. Turris and the Senators couldn't come to terms on a new contract—probably because the specter of Duchene had existed for nearly a year—and now Turris is on a Cup contender and has a new six-year, $36 million extension, a reasonable contract by any measure.
Nashville Predators — If everyone is healthy in April, the Predators will have Ryan Johansen, Turris, and Nick Bonino down the middle. That's lovely center depth and they didn't overpay for Turris. They gave up Sam Girard, a young defenseman best known for tracking escaped convict Richard Kimble in The Fugitive, Vladislav Kamenev, and a 2018 second-round pick. There's no way that after the trade call that David Poile didn't tear off his button-down shirt, revealing a tattoo of the Grim Reaper on his chest and scream, "I AM THE BRINGER OF DEATH TO ALL WHO TRADE WITH ME!"
WINNERS (but only in overtime or a shootout sense)
Matt Duchene — He got what he wanted (out of Colorado) but did he get what he wanted—shipped to Ottawa? It feels like something slightly better than a lateral move, or a compromise if you were on Let's Make A Deal. Duchene chose Door No. 2 and while he didn't win the grand prize, he didn't get a zonk, either. He wanted the vacation package but had to settle for the barbecue, which is better than the live pig on a leash.
Colorado Avalanche — The team that doesn't receive the best player in a deal is always the loser but the Avs have so many lottery tickets that if one or two pan out, that's fine. But since this is Joe Sakic scratching off the lottery tickets, you have to worry based on his history. Mikko Rantanen was a fine pick at No. 10 two years ago, but Sakic is also the guy who took Conner Bleackley two spots ahead of David Pastrnak three years ago. Anything could happen here.
Everyone going to the Avs — Poor bastards. Imagine how rough it would be to get sent to the Avs last year when they had 48 points; now imagine going to that same team a year later when they're tearing it down. Andrew Hammond is a pending free agent; good luck boosting your value behind that team if you get recalled. Girard should be hiding in every henhouse, outhouse, and doghouse to avoid reassignment. Kamenev should sign in the KHL. Shane Bowers is an 18-year-old center who went 27th overall last year, so maybe by the time he's NHL-ready the Avs will be in better shape, but again, poor bastards.
Ottawa Senators — It's hard to figure this one out from Ottawa's perspective. They get Duchene but give away Turris, a first-round pick in 2018, a third rounder in 2019, Hammond, and Bowers? There's little difference between Duchene and Turris, other than Duchene not becoming a UFA until 2019, so that one more year of control is worth all that extra stuff? Even if you re-sign Duchene, man that's a lot to give up. If you don't re-sign Duchene, woof. It's a really bad sign when you're involved in a trade with Joe Sakic and you come away looking much, much worse than him.