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Nation Notebook: The aftermath of the Duchene trade

This a weekly feature that rounds up news, rumours, and interesting things happening around the NHL. 

Last weekend, the Colorado Avalanche finally pulled the trigger on a deal involving Matt Duchene. The third overall pick from the 2009 draft has been wanting out of Colorado since last Christmas, and it was expected he would be moved over the off-season. But, oddly enough, in the middle of a game, Joe Sakic dealt Duchene in a three-team deal involving the Ottawa Senators and Nashville Predators.

Colorado got a pretty solid haul of prospects and picks and Nashville got Kyle Turris, who they quickly signed to a six-year extension. Ottawa paid a hefty price, a first, third, a prospect, and third-string goalie Andrew Hammond, to upgrade Turris to Duchene.

This is an interesting deal because it leaves us with information about who was actively trying to acquire a top-line talent. According to Pierre LeBrun, the Columbus Blue Jackets wanted Duchene and with him off the market, they’ll look elsewhere for a top centre. Same goes for the New York Rangers, who, according to Bob McKenzie, badly wanted Duchene.

Sticking with the Blue Jackets and their pursuit of a top centre, beat reporter Aaron Portzline suggests that Edmonton’s Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Montreal’s Alex Galchenyuk are two young pivots who continue to show up in trade discussions.

We’ve been hearing Galchenyuk’s name in rumours forever now it seems. The Habs view him and a winger and he wants to be a centre and he’s struggling offensively this year. Just two years ago he scored 30 goals and he’s signed to a reasonable contract, so Galchenyuk certainly has value. Nugent-Hopkins is an interesting name too. He finds his way into rumours not necessarily because he’s actively being shopped, but because the Oilers are getting into a cap crunch and they might not be able to afford his $6 million cap hit. But RNH is having an excellent season so far in Edmonton, so moving him in the middle of it before Connor McDavid’s mammoth extension kicks in seems odd, even if it nets them a good scoring winger.

Regardless, the Duchene deal showed everyone that it isn’t too early to pull the trigger on a trade. In 31 Thoughts, Elliotte Friedman suggested the Oilers could be the next team to pull the trigger on a deal, though it won’t be as big as last weekend’s three-team blockbuster.

Feb 3, 2017; Raleigh, NC, USA; Edmonton Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (93) skates with the puck past Carolina Hurricanes forward Teuvo Teravainen (86) during the fist period at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

With Duchene off the market, the next best asset likely available for trade is Evander Kane in Buffalo. He’s a free agent at the end of the season and the Sabres are nowhere near playoff contention. There are other impending free agents like John Tavares and Joe Thornton who’s names will likely show up in rumours as time goes on, but with both the Islanders and Sharks looking like playoff contenders, it’s hard to see either being dealt.

Another name to watch is Oliver Ekman-Larsson in Arizona. It seems like just yesterday he inked a six-year deal, but he’ll become a free agent for the first time in his career at the end of the 2018-19 season. The Coyotes are off to a terrible start and the future of the franchise is murky, though John Chayka dismissed the rumours. There’s no doubt Chayka could net a massive return if he dealt a year-and-a-half of OEL to a team in need of a top defenceman.

Nick Kypreos mentioned that he figures Mitch Marner will be the odd man out of Toronto’s bevy of forwards. Toronto need a defenceman and they aren’t going to get a good one for James van Riemsdyk, no matter what their fans want to believe. Maybe something between the Leafs and Coyotes makes sense.

The Vadim Shipachyov saga is over. Shipachyov, after just three games with the Golden Knights, agreed to a voluntary retirement from the NHL, meaning Vegas holds his rights until he’s 35 years old. He’s the first Golden Knight to retire in franchise history and he’s their all-time leader in relative Corsi For percentage. Cool.

Apparently the Anaheim Ducks were interested in making a trade for Shipachyov, but the possibility of a deal collapsed due to complications around Shipachyov repaying his signing bonus to the Golden Knights.

And finally, it was reported that the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins will play in the 2019 outdoor game. It’ll be Chicago’s sixth time being featured in an outdoor game since it became a tradition in 2008. Of course, Chicago is a market darling for advertisers, but it’s getting tiresome watching the same team used over and over again.

  • lee

    RNH is making it hard for PC to even think about trading him, last night he was the best forward on the team. His value to a team like Monreal or NYR is huge, you could even include Colorado who would love to have RNH. Trouble is none of these teams has what the Oilers need. That would be a top right sided d man or a scoring winger with prospects that matter.
    PC knows if he gives away RNH, he will be looking for another job, the return for Hall and Eberle on a team that is struggling to score was poor.

    • Lemmy Kilmister

      His trades have been very questionable dating back to his days in Boston, IMO
      He is one of the most overrated GMs in today’s market… those Reinhart, Eberle and Hall trades are just plain so brutal it almost makes the Gunbrasnon trade palatable

      • BobbyCanuck

        Could not agree more, I was really really looking forward to the Oilers attaining one of the most elusive records in NHL, thanks to Chia we blew it

        Yeah you know the one: 12 consecutive years out of the play offs…Damn you Chia damn you all to hell!

    • truthseeker

      No way RNH brings back anywhere close to a proven top 4 d man. Have you not been paying attention? GM’s simply don’t trade top 4 D. Or when they do it’s one for one like PK for Weber.

      Taylor Hall couldn’t even get the Oilers a top 4 D man (at the time) and he was probably the best winger in the game. Because he is a C, that gives RNH a little more value simply because he’s that position, but he’s also never broken 60 points and has kind of been a slight disappointment his whole career.

      The return on Hall was not poor. It was what the market bears. That simple IS what D costs these days. Fans just don’t seem to get it and I don’t understand why because trade precedent keeps proving it. Yes, talent wise, Hall is a way better winger than Larssen is a defender…but that doesn’t matter. Wingers have very low value. Worst of any of the regular positions.

      Look at the Shattenkirk trade. An older top D on the verge of free agency. A rental, and that cost the Caps a kid who was ranked in the top 20 of all prospects at the time, a first round pick and a conditional 2nd rounder.

      RNH will get the Oilers a top D prospect at best with maybe a pick in there somewhere. If the Oil want a proven top 4 D man it will be RNH + a first round pick and probably more. And if it’s a cost controlled young top 4 D you can practically forget about it. I doubt any GM even makes that trade unless there is even more offered up.

    • truthseeker

      Don’t think so. He wanted an NHL young cost controlled top 4 D and not a single GM was willing to give him anything close to that. The Nashville D he got is an unproven 2nd rounder with no guarantees. Sure he’s a top prospect and that’s a good thing but hardly the “impact” D man he was rumored to be holding out for.

      There is a lot of “hope” in the packages he got. Hope the draft picks work out. Hope the prospects work out. Not saying it’s terrible but Ottawa apparently held onto their two best prospects in spite of it all.

      I wouldn’t call this a win for any of the teams involved just yet.

  • D

    I’m a little concerned with Chiarelli’s track record regarding higher end talent like RNH. Somehow I feel that if Chiarelli was trading Matt Duchesne, the return to Colorado might have been a couple of low end draft picks.

  • Hugh Allan

    Unless the Oilers start winning they might well be one of the next teams to make a trade. But, trades are risky business, especially when Chiarelli is the GM. “Careful” Oilers.

  • truthseeker

    As I mentioned before in another post I’m more interested in what Sakic didn’t get. And not surprised.

    He didn’t get his “young top 4 Dman”. Nobody trades those guys. GM’s would rather give up forward prospects and picks. Sure he got that one D piece out of Nashville and maybe he’ll be a solid D man in the future, but it just NHL proven top 4 D talent.

    And people keep saying the Sens over paid but one of the articles I read said they didn’t even have to give up either of the kids considered their top 2 prospects.

    Sakic got a lot of “potential” and really nothing of immediate substance. He better hope those prospects pan out and he drafts, what will surly be those late first round picks, well.