Matt Duchene is Out of Ottawa

Matt Duchene‘s time in Ottawa is over. He’s been wanting out for a while (who wouldn’t) but now he’s finally getting a chance to leave as the trade deadline approaches.

It was announced the other day that Matt Duchene will not be playing with the Ottawa Senators when the team takes on New Jersey Devils today. Duchene did practice with the Senators on Wednesday but it is likely that the team is not playing him to avoid injury.

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Let’s recap on Duchene’s season so far. This year he’s played in 50 games with 27 goals and 31 assists. Duchene has a -2 rating and is averaging 6.9 in point shares. His cap hit is at $6 million and is coming upon free agency this summer.

As the deadline crawls near, the internet is losing it’s mind about where Duchene can go but there is one team that is outrunning them all.

Nashville Predators

The Nashville Predators are the main team going after Duchene right now. They have taken major interest in acquiring Duchene this season. Elliotte Friedman on Sportsnet 960 said:

“I think that [Duchene] and the Predators have eyed each other for a while now. It can kind of happen that way. I think there’s been a kind of interest in each other for quite some time.” (x)

One piece of evidence that Duchene has been looking at Nashville for a while. It could be someone else completely but it’s a weird coincidence.

Apparently, Duchene bought under construction townhouse in Nashville. It was said to be for an Air B&B according to Dean Brown on Twitter but it could be that Duchene was showing interest in Smashville early. Who can really blame him with what the Senators organization is right now?

It’s also said that Duchene’s friend also bought the house next door as a “business investment”. It’s common for players and coaches to buy property around the world and rent it out, that’s good business. But it is a little odd with how things are fairing between Duchene and the Preds. Take it as you will, I’m just passing you the information. Here’s a (kinda creepy) screenshot of the documents:

There is many rumors about who the Sens are looking at getting in exchange for their star forward. According to Adrian Dater, the Senators have been looking at Nashville’s prospect Eeli Torvanen.

Torvanen is a 19-year-old forward who has played 7 games in the NHL, 4 this season with 1 goal, 1 assist and a +2 rating. In the AHL things haven’t been faring that well for Torvanen. He’s got 9 goals and 19 points in 37 games with the Milwaukee Admirals. He’s riding .51 points per game and a rating of -9. A tale as old as time though is things can change with a change of scenery. The kid has a rocket shot and is a speedy skater, something that the Senators need. Toranen has a nice cap hit of $894,166 on his entry-level contract that ends in 2021.

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Of course, this trade isn’t going to be a one for one. The Preds will have to cough up more than just one prospect for Duchene.

Kevin Fiala‘s name has been thrown around quite a bit to be added to this trade. Fiala is a 22-year-old left with. He’s played in 62 games this season, collecting 10 goals and 22 assists with a -9 rating. Last season, Fiala played in 80 games with 23 goals and 25 assists on top of a +20 rating. Fiala is still on an entry-level contract as well at $863,333 and will be a Restricted Free Agent come summer. Fiala is a player that gets in front of the net and really drives in the rebounds.

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There’s other teams in the running for Duchene; the New York Islanders, Winnipeg Jets (who seem to be going after Mark Stone now), and the Columbus Blue Jackets. But the Preds seem like a favorite. Next to them I would say Columbus. They’re going to lose Artemi Panarin and need someone to fill that scoring space.

The deadline is February 25th and there’s going to be a lot of movement until then.

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