The Ottawa Senators have at last ended some of the trade speculation this year by sending forward Matt Duchene to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for prospects Vitaly Abramov and Jonathan Davidsson, a first-round pick for the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, and a conditional first-rounder in 2020 if Duchene re-signs with the Jackets.
The deal is sure to pick up some of the momentum leading into Monday’s trade deadline, of which we will have our annual comprehensive coverage.
The Blue Jackets will play the Ottawa Senators Friday at the Canadian Tire Centre, which means Duchene will be in his new lineup against his old team right away.
“I’ve been through it before, playing against my old team the first game (last season with Ottawa against the Colorado Avalanche). It’s weird to be in the same building, I mean, to drive to the rink, have the same routine and it’s a road game is strange, for sure,” Duchene said.
Expected to hit unrestricted free agency this summer, the 28-year-old was becoming symbolic of how far things were sliding for the Senators. He was among three players, including Ryan Dzingel and Mark Stone, held out of the Ottawa lineup for Thursday’s 4-0 loss to the New Jersey Devils.
That raised conjecture that one or all three of those players would be on the move and now it seems the dominoes are starting to fall.
The Senators acquired Duchene in November of 2017 as part of a three-team swap with the Predators and Avalanche. The desire was to get him signed to a long-term deal, but that never came to fruition and Ottawa took a major tumble through league rankings. Things went from bad to worse to even worse, with drama off the ice turning Ottawa into an abysmal place to play.
And now, with the Senators last overall in the standings and the fire sale presumably in full effect, it’s finally time to turn the page. Ottawa has to face the music, without Matt Duchene in their lineup.
“As soon as it was determined that he did not want to be part of our rebuild, we shifted our focus to see what assets we could acquire in exchange for Matt that would help grow our pipeline of potential,” said general manager Pierre Dorion. “We feel that both Vitaly and Jonathan, along with the first-round pick will help enhance the team’s future and fit with our continuing effort to build a younger, faster and stronger roster.”
Duchene has 58 points in 50 games this season, including 27 goals. In 704 career games since he was drafted by the Avalanche in the first round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, he’s registered 535 career points.
(Photo credit: NHL)