Rumors

Rumor Roundup: As Matt Duchene's play picks up, trade rumors die down

Lyle Richardson
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Matt Duchene (Getty Images) Author: The Hockey News

Rumors

Rumor Roundup: As Matt Duchene's play picks up, trade rumors die down

Lyle Richardson
By:

Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene was linked to several clubs, notably the Ottawa Senators, but it appears nothing will come of it.

The trade rumors that arose last month over Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene have died down. Duchene, 24, was red hot through November, netting 20 points.

Duchene was linked to several clubs, notably the Ottawa Senators, but it appears nothing will come of it. A rumor blog had the Avs center being offered to the Philadelphia Flyers, but NJ.com's Randy Miller wasted little time picking that one apart.

Miller cited Duchene's $6-million annual cap hit as the biggest impediment, noting that's a problem for a team like the Flyers with limited cap room. Parting with promising young prospects was another.

Stuck at the bottom of the league in scoring, the Flyers certainly need help in that department. However, GM Ron Hextall seems intent on staying the course through a painful rebuilding campaign. Unlike his predecessors, Hextall isn't seeking a blockbuster in-season trade.

The struggling Winnipeg Jets (4-9-1) will be without starting goaltender Ondrej Pavelec (sprained knee) until January. The Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson speculates they could try to acquire goaltender Cam Ward from the Carolina Hurricanes.

Ward, 31, is an unrestricted free agent carrying a $6.3-million annual cap hit plus a full no-trade clause. While his long-term future in Carolina is uncertain, there's no guarantee he'll waive it to join the Jets or any Western Canadian club.

For now, the Jets appear content to stick with backup Michael Hutchinson and prospect Connor Hellebuyck. Assuming they decide to chase Ward, they would probably want the Hurricanes to pick up part of his cap hit. Otherwise, they could prefer waiting until after the midpoint of the season, when over half of his remaining salary has been paid out by the Hurricanes. By that point, however, Pavelec will be back in the lineup, removing the reason to pursue Ward in the first place.

With many NHL teams possessing limited salary-cap room this season, it's proving difficult for teams to not only move high-salaried players, but also those carrying reasonable annual cap hits. A prime example is Senators winger Colin Greening, who's spent part of this season in the minors.

TSN's Darren Dreger last week reported the Sens are trying to move Greening, but his annual cap hit is a sticking point. He suggests shopping him in a package deal with a prospect to increase interest.

Re-signed in 2013 to a three-year deal worth $2.65 million (and a modified no-trade clause), the 29-year-old failed to play up to expectations. The Senators have tried trading him since last season. The fact he's signed through 2016-17 is a key reason why they can't find any takers.

In years when annual increase of over $4 million in the cap ceiling seemed assured, a rival GM might take a chance on Greening. Given the current uncertainty over next season's cap ceiling, teams are leery to add a struggling player with term remaining on his contract.

Rumor Roundup appears regularly only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and The Guardian (P.E.I.).

For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.

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Rumor Roundup: As Matt Duchene's play picks up, trade rumors die down