It has been a little more than one week since the Matt Duchene trade was finally completed, ending in a three-team swap that saw Duchene end up in Ottawa, Kyle Turris end up in Nashville and a bunch of prospects and young players end up in Colorado.
Let’s take a few minutes to check in and see how everyone is doing in the immediate aftermath of the trade.
The centerpiece of the trade, simply because he was the biggest name and the player that had been rumored to be on the move for more than two years now.
Duchene’s first two games with Ottawa actually ended up coming against his former team during a two-game set in Sweden and ended with him finishing with zero points, a minus-three rating but also a very impressive 10 shots on goal.
When all is said and done for Ottawa here they might be a marginally better team with Duchene in the lineup over Turris. It also gives them a little extra roster flexibility with Duchene being one year younger and under contract for one more season beyond this one. That is important because Turris is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent after the season and was not going to be re-signed by the Senators.
Still, it is worth asking the question: Is there a way Ottawa could have pulled off a Duchene trade without having to give up Turris? Because a team with Duchene, Turris, Derrick Brassard and Jean-Gabriel Pageau as options down the middle would have been a formidable threat in the Eastern Conference.
After all, this is a team that was a double-overtime Game 7 loss on the road against the back-to-back Stanley Cup champions from actually being in the Stanley Cup Final. That was without Duchene. So far this season they have lost just three games in regulation, so it is still a team that is clearly in the mix. Add Duchene to that mix with Turris and it would have been just that much better.
Is there a risk in losing Turris for nothing? Sure there is, nobody really wants to lose a player like that with nothing to show for him. At some point though you, as an organization, have to put all your chips on the table and go for it. The trade as it ended up being constructed does not really seem to accomplish that. Just kind of seems like a lateral move with one additional year added on.
The Nashville Predators are the team that really seemed to win big in this trade because they ended up getting a top-six center, a 25-goal, 50-to 60-point kind of player, without really giving up anything of significance in return off of their NHL roster.
It now gives them, when healthy, a trio of centers made up of Ryan Johansen, Turris and Nick Bonino. A lack of center depth was their biggest undoing in the Stanley Cup Final a year ago when Johansen and Mike Fisher were both injured for the series against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Their depth at the position now looks fantastic.
They were also able to immediately sign Turris to a long-term, six-year, $36 million contract extension. The Predators were able to easily fit him in under the salary cap because they have been so smart with their long-term contracts.
The core of this team — an excellent core — is now all locked in for at least the next few years.
The Avalanche ended up coming away with quite a haul in this trade, including several draft picks and prospects as well as a veteran goaltender in Andrew Hammond that might later be flipped for another draft pick or prospect.
For the most part, this trade will not be judged from an Avalanche perspective for several years given how young the prospects are, plus the fact they have not even yet drafted a couple of the players they will be getting as a result of the return.
The one player that is making an immediate impact is 19-year-old defenseman Samuel Girard.
The Avalanche needed to use a Duchene trade to add some young defense to an organization that is desperate for talent on the blue line and they certainly got an intriguing one in Girard.
The Avalanche have not wasted any time getting him into the lineup, playing him more than 22 minutes in each of his first two games with the team. He has already recorded an assist after scoring one goal plus two assists in his first five games with the Predators.
He has big-time potential and if he can develop into a top-pairing defenseman that would be a huge addition for an Avalanche team that has been desperate for quality players on the blue line.
It will take a few years to see how this package turns out, but the Avalanche at least seemed to get a lot of what they were looking for in a Duchene trade: A young defenseman, a couple of prospects, a couple draft picks.