It took a little while to make it official, but Matt Duchene is a member of the Nashville Predators.
The Predators signed the forward to a seven-year deal worth an average annual value of $8 million.
This instantly kicks up the value of Nashville, who gain a top line centre coming off a hot playoff performance. Duchene had 10 points in 10 playoff games for the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The 28-year-old arrived in Columbus after spending parts of two seasons with the Ottawa Senators and the bulk of his career with the Colorado Avalanche.
Duchene posted a career-high 31 goals last season between the Blue Jackets and Senators. He previously reached 30 goals with the Avalanche in 2015-2016 and could certainly build on his offensive numbers with the Predators.
“Our objective this offseason was to bolster our offence, and signing Matt Duchene gives us another dynamic goal-scoring, playmaking centre,” Predators general manager David Poile said. “We are excited to add his skill and experience to our top-six forwards and look forward to the next seven years of Matt and his family in Smashville. Matt’s love of country music and passion for the city of Nashville make this partnership a perfect fit.”
Duchene could be playing with Filip Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson and that will boost his production considerably, but Nashville could also maintain the status quo and keep Ryan Johansen on that number one unit. If that’s the case, Duchene still has the chance to play with Mikael Granlund. Either outcome looks to seriously impact his overall value for fantasy owners.
The Nashville power play will also improve with Duchene’s input. The Predators finished with a terrible power play in 2018-2019, clicking along at just 12.9 percent for last place in the NHL.
Duchene automatically gives the Predators more movement options, plus he can diversify the attack.
An unfortunate outcome here may be for Kyle Turris, who could be bumped from the top six.
(Lead photo credit: Fred Chartrand/CP)