With news that the Colorado Avalanche will be sellers, the New York Islanders need to kick the tires on Matt Duchene.
The Colorado Avalanche have had an abysmal season. Complete Hockey News has reported that the Avs will be sellers once the freeze lifts. Joe Sakic has recognized change is needed in his group and will attempt to make a shakeup. With this news breaking, New York Islanders fans are waiting for Garth Snow to pick up the phone.
To say the Avs have disappointed is an understatement. Their 12-20-1 record has shown they are well out of playoff contention for the third straight season after finishing third overall in the league in 2013-14. Their Central Division banner is stuffed in the rear mirror as is their disappointing first round exit to the Minnesota Wild that same season.
Earlier in the season, it was reported the Islanders were gauging interest in Center Matt Duchene, a left-handed shot who is versatile in playing center and winger. In light of another early conclusion, it appears Sakic is open to entertaining offers on his star forwards.
Why Duchene is key
The acquisition of Matt Duchene would help solve several of the Islanders issues. Duchene is a versatile center and is capable of playing alongside John Tavares if/when needed. He is a natural left-handed shot and is 25 years old, a year younger than Tavares.
Not to mention their extended history, which goes back to playing in the OHL and winning a Gold Medal for Team Canada during the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Even if the two don’t manage to hit it off right away, Duchene would be able to man the second line center. It’s hard to find a way where the Islanders lose this trade.
A realistic price
While it’s easy to fantasize about acquiring a player like Duchene, one must realistically look at the cost of attaining another superstar. While it would be nice to trade Mikhail Grabovski straight up for Duchene, that is simply a fantasy.
If Snow wants to realistically start the conversation of acquiring Matt Duchene, it all starts with putting Brock Nelson on the table. The Avs will be losing a star second-line forward, so the Islanders will have to open with replacing said forward.
But the real addition to this package is adding the much-needed defense that is sought after by the Avalanche. If the Avs were to trade Duchene, they would be releasing $6 million in annual salary.
Nelson’s annual hit is at $2.5 million, and adding in defensemen like Calvin de Haan and Thomas Hickey lands them at just under a seven million dollar cap hit. The Avs will have to do some shuffling, but if they want the defensive reliability they seek then they will compromise.
With John Tavares expected to re-sign next year, the Isles will be left with just enough cap space to acquire Duchene if they manage to ship out defensive pieces. Everything would add up, but the trade would have to occur in the offseason after the Islanders do some cap managing of their own either sending off one of their struggling forwards or placing Grabovski on LTIR.
Islanders fans, we’ll see how this plays out in the Spring of 2017.