Examining what the Montreal Canadiens would have to trade away, to acquire Colorado Avalanche Forward Matt Duchene.
The Montreal Canadiens have been linked to various trade rumors throughout the season. The Habs have been rumored to be interested in acquiring another top six Forward, or another Defensemen. The Canadiens are currently sitting in first place in the Atlantic Division, and appear to have a cup contending team.
The Habs also have many veteran players who are in their 30’s, or in the final year, or two, of their contracts. This makes the Habs cup chances even smaller in the future. However, a trade could push the Canadiens over the hump this season.
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A player adding offense and talent to the Canadiens top six forward group, would be Matt Duchene, of the Colorado Avalanche. Duchene can either play on the Left Wing, or at Center, and would bring versatility to the Habs Forward lines. However, teams don’t just give away players like Duchene, and a trade would be very costly.
Sportsnet Insider Elliotte Friedman commented on the possibility of the Avalanche trading Duchene. He felt that it would take an extremely significant offer. Here is what Friedman said:
“Now, if you’re asking about Matt Duchene or Gabriel Landeskog, from what I understand, teams have been told they’re not giving these guys because they’re panicking. If you want to come at [the Avalanche] with good, young Defencemen or prospects, [they] are prepared to listen. But the packages are going to have to be big because they look at both [players] and see good players signed to good contracts.”
Cost of a Trade
Their are many different scenarios that the Canadiens could come up with to entice the Avalanche. Friedman made it clear that the Avs want good young defenders, and some other prospects. The Habs do have a few young defenders, and some other good young developing players that they could part with.
After this season, Duchene would only have two years left on his contract. Also, Duchene’s cap hit is set at 6 million dollars per season, so the Canadiens would also give up a roster player to make a deal work. With Duchene having two years left on his contract, the Avalanche don’t need to rush into a deal either.
The question becomes do the Habs want to sell that much of their future, for just one player? However, here is a trade scenario that the Avalanche may consider:
Canadiens get F Matt Duchene
Avalanche get F Tomas Plekanec, F Charles Hudon, D Mikhail Sergachev, 2017 1st Rd Pick, 2017 2nd Rd Pick
Why Trade Scenario Makes Sense
The Avalanche needs would be satisfied, if they do want to rebuild for the future. The Avs would be acquiring a future top pairing Defensemen, in Mikhail Sergachev. Colorado would also be acquiring a very intriguing prospect in Charles Hudon, who has spent the past few seasons dominating in the AHL.
Also, the draft picks the Avalanche would be acquiring would help the team rebuild for the future. This offer would definitely fit the bill that Friedman described above.
Plekanec would have to be sacrificed because of the Salary Cap situation. Also, the Habs would likely have sacrifice some picks, because Duchene has term left on his deal, so the picks would add some extra motivation.
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Should the Habs Make the Deal?
NO! This would be a catastrophic trade for the Canadiens to make. Duchene is a great player, but Sergachev would be an elite Defender for years to come.
Hudon needs more of an opportunity with the Habs, he has been productive whenever he has been called up. Also, Charles could be another solid top six player for the Habs, and would be a cheaper option, than Duchene, in the long run.
Duchene would only be under contract for two more years and than could just walk away in free agency. Their would be a ton of risk to this trade, and the Habs would be better off searching for a rental player, rather than making a risky franchise altering move.