With training camp getting close and most of the team in Denver skating, Colorado Avalanche fans have noticed one key absence – Matt Duchene. While practices this week are mandatory, Duchene and the unsigned Nikita Zadorov are the only two players missing from the group. He’s not holding out yet, but some are starting to speculate that Matt Duchene might not report to camp if he is still a member of the Avs.
Yesterday, one of the best in the business, Elliotte Friedman was on The Fan 960 in Calgary and he had some pretty interesting thoughts on the Duchene saga.
“I think it’s pretty clear he wants to be traded and I think they want to make the deal, but Colorado is sitting here and their asks have been very high, They’re sitting there and saying, ‘We’re not giving away a guy who scored 30 goals the past couple of years.’”
Most insiders have skirted around the issue, but Friedman came right out and said, he believes Duchene wants out – a stance hinted at by his agent last week.
This has turned into a very tough situation. The Avs seemed set to trade the star forward, and he seems ready to move on, the problem is you can’t just give him away. Joe Sakic is holding to his asking price, and that’s a very good thing. Sakic is playing a game of chicken with other GMs and it’s looking like it’s the other side that is going to have to concede.
The one team that has been linked to Duchene the most this offseason has been the Blue Jackets and Friedman thinks that hasn’t changed.
“I think Columbus has been pretty aggressive. I think they’re a team that would really like to do this. Columbus is all-in this year. But Colorado is saying, ‘If we don’t get our price, we’re not going to do it.’”
And what is that price?
“I understand it’s been very high. They’ve asked for a lot from teams.”
This whole situation has dragged on far too long and it’s starting to sound like everyone involved is frustrated, from the team to the player, to the fans. In the interview, Friedman mentioned deadlines creating action and one way or another, the start of training camp seems to be a deadline. Does Sakic force a trade before Duchene has to make a decision on camp, or does he draw a line in the sand and put the onus on the player to show up, ready to work and prove a level of professionalism.
“I get Matt Duchene’s frustration. I get Pat Brisson’s frustration. But if you’re Colorado, you’re coming off a last-place season, you’re trying to rebuild, you’ve had one asset that you’ve traded and it hasn’t worked out. You have to give yourself the best chance to make sure that this deal works. From outside, I get why people are frustrated at them. But if I was in Joe Sakic’s shoes, this is what I would have to do, and that’s the truth. Because if they don’t get a good return on this or it doesn’t work out, it’s a real damaging blow for the franchise.”
If nothing else, we are nearing at least a partial conclusion to this saga. We will know by next week whether or not Matt Duchene is going to report to Avs training camp - unless of course he’s been traded by then...