‘It’s a learning experience’ -- Duchene saga in Colorado ends with blockbuster trade
Go ahead and circle Nov. 10 and 11 on your hockey calendars.
Matt Duchene, now a member of the Ottawa Senators, could face his old team the Colorado Avalanche for the first time just days after Sunday’s blockbuster, three-team trade that also involved the Nashville Predators.
The funny thing is this two-game set between the Senators and Avalanche won’t take place in Denver or Ottawa. Duchene would face his old team when the two clubs face each other in Sweden on Friday and Saturday.
This trade puts an end to Duchene’s career with the Avalanche. Selected third overall in 2009, Duchene played 585 games with Colorado, scoring 178 goals and 428 points. But the relationship had gone through a lengthy rough patch, resulting in months of trade talk involving the 26-year-old center.
“Probably the last ... year has been tough,” Duchene told reporters, per BSN Denver, after leaving Sunday’s game between the Avalanche and Islanders. He played just under two minutes of ice time before exiting.
“But at the same time it’s a learning experience, it’s a growing experience. It’s part of the business. None of this is personal at the end of the day. It’s a business. I can’t say enough good things. Colorado has given me so much.”
With this deal, the Senators (acquiring Duchene) and Predators (acquiring Kyle Turris from Ottawa) made significant moves to bolster their lineups with the intent of making a prolonged playoff run next spring.
For the Avalanche, this was an opportunity to collect draft picks and prospects with hopes of building a more prosperous future.
The Avalanche acquired defenseman Samuel Girard, forward Vladislav Kamenev and a 2018 second-round pick from Nashville, and forward Shane Bowers, goaltender Andrew Hammond, a first-round pick in 2018 and a third-round pick in 2019 from Ottawa.
That would give the Avalanche two first-round picks and two second-round picks in 2018, and five selections in the opening three rounds next year.
“We feel this deal brings us some top prospects as well as some high draft picks as we continue to build for both the short and long-term future,” said Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic in a statement. “We’ve said all along that we wanted to be patient and wait for the right deal, and this is the opportunity we feel is best for the organization.”