A 3-1-0 start for the Colorado Avalanche has helped to mitigate the underlying circus of Matt Duchene having not yet been dealt despite endless months of speculation.
But is it actually possible that the trade situation might simply disappear if the Avalanche continues to play well, and is this good start – a stark contrast from last season’s miserable results – actually sustainable?
“I think it’s a great question. Winning cures all evils,” noted NHL Insider Elliotte Friedman when presented with the topic during a Friday morning radio hit on Calgary’s Sportsnet 960. “I can’t say that’s the case right now. They took the ‘A’ off him. If that was me, I would be annoyed at that. I think they’re still looking to trade him.
“I get the sense that what is going on here is that I think they’re going to hold him for a bit – I mean, famous last words, I’ll hang up and he gets traded – but I think they’re going to hold him for a bit. But what I think they’re going to do is they’re going to do some pretty heavy scouting of team prospects. I think it’s possible now that teams may not want to give some stuff up off their roster, so I think what they could be doing is looking at some guys who may be in juniors or the NCAA or the minors. Guys who are legit prospects, but simply aren’t ready yet or aren’t at the NHL level yet. And that takes time. I did get some indication this week that that could be happening.”
Each National Hockey League franchise is obviously doing this type of scouting already and has the infrastructure in place to do so, but it is a particularly salient note that Avalanche fans should potentially be expecting the heart of any Duchene trade to be coming via non-NHL means.
Young has indeed been the message all along for any possible swap, and this provides some insight into just how young the assets may be coming back in a trade.
“But they are playing pretty well,” continued Friedman on the Avalanche. “I’ll tell you, the Jost kid looks really good. The Kerfoot kid looks pretty good. Yakupov looks pretty good. I know a lot of people are going to need convincing on that one.
“But I think the one thing is that they’ve got a bit of youthful infusion. I do think that last year they grew stale and that played out as they really went to the bottom of the league. But I think that now all of the sudden I think some of their veterans have looked at some of their younger kids and said, ‘You know what? Some of these guys are pretty good.’
“As for Duchene, that’s a lot of water to go under the bridge. I mean, there were a lot of hurt feelings and angry feelings on both sides. I would say it’s unlikely that that goes to a point where he doesn’t want to be traded anymore, but stranger things have happened. So I would say unlikely, but I wouldn’t say 100 percent no.”
Duchene has two goals and three assists in four starts, which includes a pair of two-point affairs.
The 2-1-1 Anaheim Ducks are in town to take on the Avalanche on Friday evening.
Source: Sportsnet 960