NHL Insider Darren Dreger was on Buffalo’s WGR550 this morning and the topic of Matt Duchene’s future with the Colorado Avalanche came up again. Dreger softened on his previous opinion that Duchene “must” be traded but still speaks as though the move is inevitable.
Dreger spoke about how the team’s decent start might have changed the mentality of both the team and the player. The Avalanche are exceeding expectations so far this season, so maybe trading away Duchene - who has been their best forward - isn’t the best idea. Though, on the flip side, he is definitely increasing his trade value by playing this well.
“Up until recently, I would have said he’s definitely gone, there have been some pretty sweet deals, at least that’s what I’m told, (offers) that Joe Sakic should have embraced and made that move. But there are general managers out there now who think that maybe it’s the opposite. Maybe Sakic is taking his time here in trying to convince the player, to hang in there because of how valuable he is to the Colorado Avalanche.”
Now, who knows how legitimate these “sweet offers” were. What the media believes to be a good offer, might not be something that makes sense for the Avs. One thing we do know is that Elliotte Friedman reported an offer of Justin Faulk+ from the Carolina Hurricanes. If that is at all accurate, it is, in fact, a “sweet” offer and one Joe Sakic should have probably jumped on.
Dreger continued to give his opinion on Colorado’s season:
“When I look at Colorado I don’t see it. Maybe you guys look at them differently. I think they’re going to be a bad team moving forward. I don’t think they’re going to have much of a run this year at all, and the team we saw last year near the bottom of the National Hockey League. I think that’s the direction they’re headed. So the trade of Matt Duchene still makes more sense than not for me.”
This might be a bit harsh, but it’s not far from the truth. The Avalanche aren’t going to contend for anything this season, but that doesn’t mean they are going to be a bottom feeder like last season. If Joe Sakic truly believes that Matt Duchene being on this team is the way for them to grow, then so be it. The problem is that it becomes significantly more difficult to improve the team - and fill holes in the lineup - without moving Duchene.
Dealing from a position of strength is always the best way to improve a team. The Avs have a glut of young forwards that have the potential to be dynamic NHLers - trading Duchene still seems like the right move from the sense of changing a roster that obviously needs it.
But winning cures all, so if the Avs continue to improve and play at above .500, trading Duchene might become less of a priority.
You can hear the complete interview with Darren Dreger here.