By Dylan Botelho, Staff Writer
Colorado Avalanche star center, Matt Duchene, has wanted out of the Mile-High City for some time now. Duchene was practically wasting away in Colorado, playing for a lost cause.
His complaints have been heard over the past few seasons but was never dealt by any deadline.
Just a few years ago, the Avalanche were one of the NHL’s top promising young teams. Lead by one of the greatest goaltenders in NHL
history, Patrick Roy, as head- coach, the team seemed destined for a Stanley Cup run in the near future.
After a 52-22-8 record in the 2013-14 season that saw them finish first in their division, the Avalanche fell deep into obscurity. Their 22-56-4 season last year was the lowest winds total ever for the franchise in a full season.
Duchene was a hot commodity, with just about every team willing to make a move for him. The Avalanche clearly weren’t going anywhere anytime soon and rumors of blowing the entire team up and rebuilding is constant. Still, they held out on any trades.
The Avalanche knew they didn’t have much leverage in any trade due to Duchene’s openness of not wanting to play for the team anymore but still ordered a king’s ransom knowing his value to a contender.
Finally though, a deal for Duchene was made. The Ottawa Senators won the Duchene jackpot but at what cost?
The Senators were one goal short of defeating the defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference Finals last season.
The team was carried throughout the playoffs by defenseman Erik Karlsson, arguably the NHL’s best. Without much offensive production outside of Karlsson though, the Senators have no hope in making another push unless he continues to play out of this world.
With Duchene though, they added one of the league’s best that will likely elevate the already high potential of players like Mark Stone, Bobby Ryan, and Mike Hoffman.
They gave up a lot however. To Colorado, the Senators sent prospect Shane Bowers, goaltender
Andrew Hammond, a first round pick, and a third round pick. That wouldn’t be all Colorado received however, as a third team, the Nashville Predators, was also worked in. This is where the water gets a little murky. Nashville sent Colorado defenseman Samuel Girard and forward prospect Vladislav Kamenev along with a first round pick.
Of course, Nashville didn’t just do this to help their buddies in Ottawa out. From Ottawa, the Predators received Kyle Turris, which might be the real story of this trade. The Senators were smart in moving Turris, as he was set to be an unrestricted free agent and likely wouldn’t have re- signed with the team.
Last year’s Western Conference champions though now add Turris to an already stacked offense without unloading any main roster players. The Predators excelled in last year’s playoffs and that was without star center Ryan Johansen.
Barring any injuries, the Predators look poised to make another run to the Stanley Cup and contest the Penguins from completing the 3-peat, that is… if the Penguins get past Duchene and the Senators.