You don’t have to go very far to find a story about Matt Duchene and the Colorado Avalanche. To put things mildly, things have gotten very interesting between the player and his team.
But what exactly is going on?
The 26-year-old has two years remaining on his current five-year contract, which was signed in July of 2013 and is worth $30 million. That translates to $6 million a year.
That hasn’t stopped Duchene’s name from popping up in trade rumours, with a multitude of teams reported to have been in talks with general manager Joe Sakic and the club. The Columbus Blue Jackets have reportedly tabled an offer for the forward’s services.
According to reports, Sakic is asking a lot for Duchene’s services and the team is “continuing to work” on moving the player.
The situation escalated after Duchene no-showed a charity golf tournament ahead of training camp, which set off speculation that he wouldn’t report to training camp.
But when camp opened on Thursday, Duchene was there – kind of.
“I’m here to honor my contract. I’m here out of respect for the fans. I’m here for my teammates,” Duchene said.
Then there was the promotional picture, in which he looked all kinds of unhappy in the Colorado sweater.
Now, most of this situation has been fuelled by media speculation.
It’s easy to hazard a few guesses, with Duchene drafted by his favourite team in 2009 and arriving to play for his hero only to find the club stumbling time and time again out of the blocks. And last season, with Duchene putting up a measly 18 goals, seemed to be the last straw.
The truth is that Duchene has never really exploded offensively, save for the 2015-2016 season when he scored 30 goals. But his totals have generally hovered around 20 goals, no matter where the Avalanche wind up in the standings.
Last month, Sakic admitted that he was listening to offers about Duchene but added that things were quiet “on all fronts.” In the powder keg that is this ongoing drama, such commentary has been read with bluster. But general managers typically listen to offers on all kinds of players, most of which we don’t even hear of until a deal is done, and that kind of discussion is par for the course.
No-showing an optional golf tournament can likewise be viewed through a rather creative lens, even as Erik Johnson stated it was a “non-story” and Sakic himself didn’t participate.
There is turmoil in Colorado and the Avalanche are struggling to find footing in the NHL. That has naturally led to mountains of speculation, with the team having missed the post-season three consecutive years. This is a distraction they do not need.
Do the trade rumours surrounding Duchene have legs? Maybe. But they’ve been “swirling” for almost two years and little has occurred as of yet. With their player in camp and their team on the ice, the Avalanche would very much like to move on.
Maybe we should let them.