Barry Trotz is putting his stamp on the Nashville Predators, and in doing so, he has now bought out old friend Matt Duchene.
Did anyone see that coming?
Just a week after he dealt Ryan Johansen to the Colorado Avalanche and retained 50%, he now is going to see his Predators pay Duchene until 2029 to not play for the team. What is he cooking up over there?
Duchene is one year removed from a 43 goal season and has 142 points in his last 149 games, but Nashville is clearly trying to change things up. I’m not surprised they wanted to move the Duchene contract, but I am surprised they chose the buy-out option.
“You are asking ownership to eat a lot of money for players that will not play for your franchise.”
— Nick Kieser 🏒 (@KieserNick) June 30, 2023
And as much as people in Colorado don’t like Duchene, he pretty clearly (at least, in my opinion) becomes the best free agent forward on the market. After all, the UFA class is awful.
Matt Duchene, bought out by NSH, is a speedy top six forward who creates chances off the rush at a very strong rate. His finishing touch fluctuates pretty dramatically. That said, you could make the case that he's the best forward on the UFA market now. pic.twitter.com/VSzD5ga99E
— JFresh (@JFreshHockey) June 30, 2023
And now the question that is already on everyone’s minds on social media…should the Avalanche pursue him?
I mean, never say never, but I highly doubt it. Duchene is still a good player on the ice, and would be an immediate upgrade in the top six, but we know he still gets booed every time he touches the puck at Ball Arena. How do you sell something like that to the fans, and would he even be accepted in the locker room? People don’t forget. It’s not like he’s left and won, like Ryan O’Reilly.
I think he’s a little bit closer with some of the players left (Landeskog, for one) than some might think, but I wouldn’t bank on a reunion.
Duchene is officially a free agent, but I would be pretty surprised if that’s a road the Avalanche go down, especially after Joe Sakic’s comments yesterday.
Now, some of those other buyouts from today? That’s perhaps a more interesting (and realistic) conversation…