Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Duchene has been available to NHL teams since the trade deadline last season. When the Colorado Avalanche did not move him to any of the playoff contenders at that point, the belief around the league was that he would be traded around the NHL Draft in June.
The draft came and went, and Duchene remained with the Avs, and he is still with the team in August. There is some talk around the league that Colorado general manager Joe Sakic may have missed an opportunity to get the maximum return on the forward.
“Did they wait too long on Duchene?” a Western Conference scout asked, per Josh Cooper of ESPN.com. “I think that the market will tank on Duchene if they don’t trade him before the beginning of the year. I think there’s a negativity that surrounds their team and surrounds him.”
It’s looking like more of a possibility that Duchene will still be with the Avs at the start of training camp if Sakic doesn’t make a quick move.
The rationale for trading Duchene is that his contract will expire in two years, and re-signing him at that point would require a major financial commitment. Since the Avs had the worst record in the league last year, it doesn’t seem likely that they are going to be able to turn it around by then.
As a result, they could trade him for a number of assets and not have to commit a big chunk of their salary cap to one player when the team is not overly competitive.
Duchene had 18 goals and 41 points last year, and that was the least productive season of his eight-year career. If he remains with the Avs through the start of the season and gets off to a sharp start, Sakic may be able to get more for Duchene at that point.
Carlos Osorio/Associated Press
The Penguins have a need for a No. 3 center, and they were one of the teams rumored to be going after Duchene.
That deal obviously did not come to fruition, but the Pens are still looking for a player to fill that position, especially one that will not come with a big cap number. Riley Sheahan is a player who fits that description, according to Lyle Richardson of The Hockey News.
Sheahan scored 13 goals in 2014-15, and he followed that up with 14 goals in 2015-16. However, last year was a disaster for Sheahan as he found the back of the net just twice.
Sheahan is hoping for an opportunity to prove that last year’s total was an aberration and that he can get back on track in 2017-18. Sheahan is scheduled to earn $2.075 million in 2017-18, according to capfriendly.com.
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The Boston Bruins were thought to be in the market for a backup goaltender at the start of the offseason. The Bruins struggled throughout the first half of the season with Anton Khudobin manning the No. 2 role, but he did perform much more consistently in the second half of the year.
Prior to the start of camp, it looks like Khudobin still has the best chance to serve as Tuukka Rask’s backup in 2017-18, while Malcolm Subban and Zane McIntyre also have a chance.
However, general manager would not close the door on a possible move for a backup netminder.
“Our goaltending right now is where we’re at,” said Sweeney, per Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe. “You never say never, but…”