This past summer, everyone who was paying any attention to the NHL knew that Matt Duchene wanted to be traded away from the Colorado Avalanche. No trade came, and Joe Sakic was widely criticized for it.
“You can’t go into the season with Duchene on the roster.”
Sakic waited. He held firm on his asking price and when a desperate team finally gave in, he pulled the trigger. And what a haul he got.
A mere eleven months after a trade was requested, the Colorado Avalanche were able to turn his second line center into seven assets - most of which are very valuable.
To Ottawa: Matt Duchene
To Nashville: Kyle Turris
To Colorado: Samuel Girard + Vladislav Kamenev + Shane Bowers + Andrew Hammond + 1st (OTT) +2nd (NSH) + 3rd (OTT)
That is a huge return - especially when you break it down in detail - but to summarize, that’s a salary dump (Hammond), Ottawa’s first round pick from the 2017 draft (Bowers), Nashville’s top NHL-ready forward prospect (Kamenev), a 19-year old defenseman that is already capable of playing in Colorado’s top-4 (Girard) and a draft pick in each of the first three rounds.
With the trade, Joe Sakic proved the naysayers wrong; but according to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, he might have also broken the NHL trade market.
“Because of what Colorado got for Duchene, there’s a real feeling of ‘We’ve got to do really well to justify this’, and I think the buyers are looking at them and saying, ‘some of you guys are nuts’.” - Friedman on Sportsnet 960
In his conversation with Sportsnet 960 in Calgary, Friedman spoke about a number of big-name forwards that are on the trade block; Mike Hoffman, Max Pacioretty, Evander Kane, Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist were all mentioned. While it’s evident that there are a number of teams willing to trade away top talent in-season, thanks to Sakic, their asking price is astronomical.
In his past five seasons, Max Pacioretty has scored at least 30 goals and 60 points. He is two years older, but has proven to be a much more consistent offensive threat than Matt Duchene. How would Montreal fans react if Marc Bergevin were to trade him for significantly less than the Avalanche got for Duchene?
What would happen if the Sens were to pay such a high price for Duchene, only to turn around and move Hoffman - their own 60 point forward - for pennies on the dollar?
In the same radio hit, Friedman quoted an anonymous general manager:
“I think there’s a lot of talking. There’s quite a few guys out there, especially scorers, and I think the buyers are saying, ‘The prices are insane and we’re going to try to wait as long as we can.’”
Just over three weeks from the trade deadline and the prices are “insane”. There is only one reason for that; Joe Sakic.
As we get closer to February 26, some prices are going to come down - Evander Kane will be traded for far less than what the Buffalo Sabres are asking for now. But, for the non-rentals like Pacioretty, Hoffman and even Tyson Barrie, there becomes the chance that they don’t get traded, simply because of the pie-in-the-sky expectations.
We are going to hear a lot of names thrown out in rumors over the next few weeks, unfortunately, a lot of them will go no further than speculation among armchair general managers. Fans are going to have fun trying to figure out how their team can acquire their favorite players from the rumor mill - but most will end up being fantasy.
Unfortunately, most of the players on the trade rumor lists won’t get moved. It won’t be because trade talks didn’t happen, it’s going to be thanks to an inflated market that can be traced back to the deal that send Matt Duchene to the Senators.
And we can all blame Joe Sakic and the Colorado Avalanche for outsmarting their competition.