Matt Duchene (Karl Gehring/The Denver Post)
Recent trade speculation regarding Colorado Avalanche forward Matt Duchene dominated the NHL rumor mill over the weekend.
Recent trade speculation regarding Colorado Avalanche forward Matt Duchene dominated the NHL rumor mill over the weekend. TSN's Darren Dreger expounded on his report claiming the Avalanche contacted the Ottawa Senators to gauge interest in the 24-year-old center. It's believed as long as Duchene remains in the discussion, the Senators (and other clubs) could continue to explore the possibility.
Dreger, however, considers it unlikely Avs GM Joe Sakic will move Duchene. He suggests Sakic could be using the forward as a means of starting trade discussions involving a different move with other players. ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun thinks Sakic is simply gauging the trade value of Duchene and other players on his roster.
The Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch doesn't expect Duchene to join the Senators anytime soon. He reports Ottawa GM Bryan Murray is exploring the trade market but doesn't have any deals in the works.
Garrioch cites two league executives claiming the return for Duchene could involve a top defenseman as the centerpiece. While the Senators could move Patrick Wiercioch or possibly Jared Cowen, neither fit that description. Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman claims the Senators nearly had a deal in place last year sending Wiercioch to the Avalanche, but it doesn't appear they'll revisit that one.
Friedman also claims teams are keeping an eye on Avs defenseman Tyson Barrie, who's a restricted free agent next summer with arbitration rights. Noting the Avalanche are a budget team, he speculates they could peddle the 24-year-old Barrie, who's earning an annual salary-cap hit of $2.6 million, if unable to re-sign him.
If the trade speculation swirling about the Avalanche was designed by Sakic to light a fire under his club, it seems to be working. After lurching to a 5 4-9-1 start, they rattled off three straight wins last week over the Philadelphia Flyers, Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens.
Duchene was dominant in that stretch, netting four goals and eight points in those three games. He told The Denver Post's Mike Chambers he wants to remain with the Avalanche. Chambers also reports Sakic dismissed the Duchene trade speculation.
Whatever the reason behind the Duchene rumors, it's unlikely he, Barrie or other notable members of the Avalanche are going anywhere for the foreseeable future. Duchene's $6-million annual cap hit is almost impossible to move at this point in the season. Sakic probably hasn't found any offers to his liking, as his rivals hope to cash in on his frustration with his team's performance.
SHOULD FLYERS CONSIDER MOVING GIROUX?
No relief appears in sight for the struggling Philadelphia Flyers, who enter this week having won only two of their last 10 games. With a record of 6-8-3, there's rumors GM Ron Hextall would like to make a deal, but his limited salary-cap space is hindering those effots.
Noting the Flyers are finally in the midst of a “sensible but painful rebuild”, Philadelphia Daily News' sportswriter Sam Donnellon suggests they trade center Claude Giroux while he's still valuable. Donnellon believes by the time the Flyers' promising prospects are fully NHL-ready, Giroux will be in his early-30s and past his playing prime.
NJ.com's Randy Miller reports Flyers GM Ron Hextall remains tight-lipped over trade possibilities, but Giroux is unconcerned about it. Friedman doubts Hextall will take Donnellon up on his suggestion.
Even if Hextall wanted to peddle Giroux, the latter's in the second year of an eight-year deal with a full no-movement clause and an annual cap hit of $8.275 million. Good luck moving that hefty deal this early in the season.
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.