In all likelihood, Matt Duchene is done as an Ottawa Senator.
According to reports, the 28-year-old has been told that he won’t be playing the next few games for the club. That’s a pretty clear indicator that he’s being protected, being shopped and being packaged.
With the trade deadline coming Monday, there’s an increasingly huge chance that Duchene will be moved before then. The issue now is to not risk injury, which would damage any latent trade package and drive down his market value.
There are a number of potential suitors, with the Winnipeg Jets probably at the top of the list. That could change before Monday or indeed before the end of the week. Things move fast in the hockey world, with Duchene scratched Thursday against New Jersey. That gives us every reason to assume a trade could be coming any day now.
Duchene has had plenty to show for himself this season. He’s second on the team in scoring with 27 goals and 58 points, which marks the first time in his career that he could reach a point-per-game pace. And he’s in the final year of a five-year deal worth $30 million.
“I’m kind of just taking it one day at a time,” said Duchene of the whole situation. “It’s either game day or it’s not. When it’s not, you look forward to the next game and then it’s game day. It’s as simple as that.”
Duchene hasn’t exactly played the simple hand in Ottawa. He was central to that whole Uber fiasco, but that hasn’t stopped teams from kicking the tires. The Nashville Predators are another club in the running and they have designs on working out a long-term deal should it come to fruition.
The Duchene situation also seemingly kicks Ottawa’s devotion back to Mark Stone, who was recently tabled a “serious offer.” There’s other interest surrounding him, though, with the Bruins among those teams sniffing around the door.
But if Duchene goes and Stone stays, the Senators could come out of this whole thing looking okay.
Stone was always the most (or more) wanted of the two and parting with Duchene will hurt less over the long haul. Stone has the potential to set the tone for the future of the franchise in Ottawa and the Sens are hoping he’ll have something to say in the next two days. No pressure.
(Photo credit: NHL)