It’s a question that doesn’t seem to go away. What is happening with Matt Duchene and the Colorado Avalanche? After weeks of discussion might there finally be some movement? If not, what does that mean for Gabriel Landeskog? Elsewhere, is James van Riemsdyk going to stay in Toronto? Will the Boston Bruins re-sign Chara? Who will Cody Franson choose?
Matt Duchene Deal Closer?
Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene tops almost everyone’s trade bait board. After a summer that was all talk about the Colorado Avalanche moving the forward, but not finding a taker at their high asking price, Duchene’s absence from a recent voluntary skate involving Avalanche players got people wondering. Is this a sign that he won’t be reporting to camp and trying to force the hand of Joe Sakic and the Avs?
Duchene and the club declined to comment and Duchene’s agent Pat Brisson informed curious media that Duchene was skating, just not with the team.
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The Nashville Predators, Columbus Blue Jackets, Montreal Canadiens, Boston Bruins, Pittsburgh Penguins, Carolina Hurricanes and Calgary Flames have been linked to Duchene in trade talks, but only the Blue Jackets have been rumored to have tabled a deal.
Perhaps Duchene’s absence gets Sakic thinking that it’s time to revisit the offer by the Blue Jackets or if another team is starting to sense that things are getting sticky between the Duchene and Avalanche camps, take advantage. Could a team like the Hurricanes swoop in with a deal that, while not the one Sakic wants, is enough to get things moving?
Should the Duchene absence turn into a holdout, one has to consider what that means for Gabriel Landeskog. The Hockey News’ Matt Larkin has Gabriel Landeskog atop their trade list and while there would have been no rush to move Landeskog otherwise, an absent Duchene could change things.
Matt Duchene Gabriel Landeskog (Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports)
The idea behind keeping Landeskog is to maximize your time with him on the roster. No Duchene or no return seems like a fail in that regard. The feeling seems to be, why keep Landeskog if you’re not going to have the best players playing alongside him?
NHL insider Darren Dreger believes a Duchene trade is going to happen, it’s just a question of when. Nichols also mentioned that Elliotte Friedman thinks the Avs are working a bit harder to get something done and believes the Blue Jackets are the team to watch. He notes the Hurricanes might get involved using either Justin Faulk or a player like Jaccob Slavin as the centerpiece of any trade.
The key here is that this is one of the first signs by the player that this could lead to a holdout. Prior to Duchene no-showing the voluntary skate, he’s been quiet about his status with the club. This may mean nothing, but most people think where there’s smoke, there’s fire.
James van Riemsdyk Looking for $6 Million
With players like Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander guaranteed to get big raises in the next couple seasons, a player like James van Riemsdyk might be wondering where he fits. The likelihood is, he doesn’t fit in Toronto. Not if the rumored $6 million per season asking price by the van Riemsdyk camp is accurate.
Van Riemsdyk earns $4.25 million this season and is said to be seeking a raise of $1.75 million per season on an extension before he becomes an unrestricted free agent next summer. Complicating matters is the fact that the Leafs are rumored to be looking for a defenseman and it’s hard not to link these two situations together.
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There isn’t pressure to trade van Riemsdyk now, at least not as far as the salary cap is concerned, but with his new linemate Patrick Marleau making good money and a young powerhouse of offensive forwards ready to take the leadership role of the team, van Riemsdyk is aware that a trade is possible.
“That’s stuff you can’t worry about as a player,” van Riemsdyk said. “It’s out of your control. I just want to go out there, play, and be a productive member of the team, and hopefully the rest of it figures itself out.”
Now 40-years old, Chara has been the face of the Bruins organization for years:
“I definitely want to play beyond this season. It’s really hard to put a number on it. Some people do and some people don’t. I just obviously want to keep playing [in the NHL] beyond this season. I love this game too much. I have made no secrets about it. I want to stay here [with the Bruins] and continue to play.”
He finished the 2016-17 season with 10 goals and 29 points in 75 games. He had a plus-18 rating and averaged 23:30 of ice time. Despite his age, he’s still considered the Bruins No. 1 defenseman.
Cody Franson Down to Two
It was reported that defenseman Cody Franson has narrowed down his options this coming season to two teams. The Chicago Blackhawks and Edmonton Oilers are both in the running and a decision could be imminent.
Been told UFA Cody Franson is down to Edmonton or Chicago. Vancouver never called.