Speculation: 3 potential targets for Matt Duchene

The Matt Duchene sweepstakes have been alive for over a year now, and yet by some miracle, and a GM thinking he’s shopping around Connor McDavid, Duchene is still with the Colorado Avalanche. It’s pretty clear that Duchene now wants out of Colorado, and a trade seems like what’s best for the club. Here are 3 teams that can really benefit with Matt Duchene on their roster.

1. Vegas Golden Knights

Why would they do this? There are a couple of ways an expansion team can start their franchise off. One choice is to tank for the first couple seasons and try building a cup contender by year 4 or 5, which appears to be Vegas’ current route. Having taken on dead contracts like Mikhail Grabovski and David Clarkson, they amassed themselves a combined 28 draft picks over the next three years, including their own three 1st rounders, and seven 2nd rounders. However, with an NFL team on their way to Vegas soon, the key to winning a fanbase is to win now. Matt Duchene can help with that. Given that the Golden Knights also have Vadim Shipachyov in the minors, it seems their top center position is vacant. Duchene could join James Neal, Jonathan Marchessault and Reilly Smith as potential linemates that could complement a center playmaker like Duchene.

What can they offer? It seems that the recipe for a trade for Duchene has been the same for months. A 1st round pick, a young blue-chip defensive prospect, and a roster replacement for Duchene. Thankfully the Golden Knights drafted too many defensemen in the expansion draft and now have far too many. One is 22-year old Shea Theodore. A good young defencemen taken in a trade from Anaheim in exchange for draft considerations. He could be a solid piece to throw in as the defensive prospect. The Knights also have all of their first round picks for the next three drafts, and could throw in Vadim Shipachyov as the placeholder.

2. Montreal Canadiens

Why would they do this? Any Habs fans out there are shouting at the screen “Why do you think?” right now. The Canadiens have a gaping hole at the center position. Drouin is the prime candidate for the position, but has not played center for an extended amount of time since junior. Claude Julien does not trust Galchenyuk with his defensive play and face-off capabilities. The only other candidates would be Plekanec, Danault, Shaw, Mitchell and De la Rose, you do the math. They can use a top 6 center badly, and Duchene would make a huge impact down the middle in Montreal.

What can they offer? Here’s the tricky part. The Habs have very little to offer. If we are sticking to the offer that Sakic wants, Victor Mete or Noah Juulsen are going to Denver I guess. The after sending Mikhail Sergachev to Tampa Bay in the Jonathan Drouin trade, and losing Beaulieu, Emelin, Markov, and Nesterov in the span of a week or 2, Montreal may even have a worse situation than Colorado on the back end (Ok maybe a slight exaggeration). Mete and Juulsen are the only defensive prospects that would interest, but with Mete on their starting roster and Juulsen with a broken foot, it’s unlikely a del will be swung with them. Some people make the case for trading Galchenyuk and a couple picks for Duchene, but with his dip in performance since his knee injury last season, Galchenyuk’s value is not nearly what it used to be when he potted 30 goals as the lone bright spot of their abysmal 2015-16 season. Needless to say, a deal that send Duchene to Montreal would be nearly impossible to swing.

3. Nashville Predators
Why would they do it? While some hockey fans believe the addition of Nick Bonino is the perfect solution to Nashville’s problem, most Penguins fans would tell you he’s dormant until the playoffs begin, and that won't cut it. Having a 1-2 punch of Johansen and Duchene would trump the better part of the NHL’s top 2 centers. Thankfully Nashville could have just what Colorado is looking for.

What can they offer? Watching the Predators’ run to the cup final last year, the hockey world saw one of the best defensive cores in the league at work. With Roman Josi, Ryan Ellis, and Mattias Ekholm, they somehow managed to make P.K. Subban look like a #4 defenceman. Giving Ryan Ellis and a 1st round pick would be a solid trade for Duchene. Of course Sakic will probably hold out his hand until Ellis, Subban, Rinne, and Johansen are in it as well, so this trade may not work either.

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