It took three hockey clubs, millions of dollars and a glut of players heading to the Pepsi Center, but the Ottawa Senators acquired center Matt Duchene from the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday.
The deal wasn’t easy to work out for any of the three teams, and in the end, much of it hinged on Kyle Turris agreeing to a six-year, $36 million dollar contract with the Nashville Predators.
Duchene, a former third overall draft pick in 2009, had asked for a trade nearly a year ago. He finally got it, but the Avalanche took their time to get the replacement pieces the franchise desperately needed.
Colorado General Manager Joe Sakic simply wanted to get the right return on a player the team had heavily invested in. On Sunday, he spoke to the media following Colorado’s game against the New York Islanders:
“We wanted to make sure we had the right deal,” Sakic said told journalists.
Colorado received defenseman Samuel Girard, forward Vladislav Kamenev and goalie Andrew Hammond. The team also get Shane Bowers, a highly rated prospect, and two 2018 draft picks (a first and a second round pick) as well as a 2019 third round draft pick to help shape the future.
Ottawa may have put a lot into the trade, but the team is looking to win now with the acquisition of Duchene.
Since the trade was announced on Sunday night, debate over Duchene and Turris has raged. Coincidentally, both players are former third overall picks, but the Senators see a lot of upside in the 26-year-old Duchene. For starters, the new Ottawa center is two years younger than Turris and the team was hesitant to commit long-term to Turris going forward.
Both players have started the season similarly. Duchene has tallied four goals and six assists in 14 games, while Turris has three goals and six assists in 11 games played. In fact, the players’ stats from the past four seasons are nearly identical. Despite their goal and assist totals being similar, most NHL experts see Duchene as an upgrade for the Senators.
According to The Score, Duchene’s expected goals is one of the areas that makes him superior to Turris. The two centers’ relative stat, which is a percentage of goals that teams can be expected when a player is on the ice, also favor Duchene. While Colorado had a 3.41 percent chance of scoring with Duchene on the ice, Ottawa had a –1.3 percentage of scoring with Turris out there. The Senators’ chance of scoring dropped with Turris, and the team should – in theory – correct this trend once Duchene joins the team.
There are a plethora of other stats The Score delved into comparing the two players. The more the surface is scratched, it is easy to see why Ottawa went big to acquire the center. Although Duchene does top Turris in the in-depth statistics department, it can be argued that Duchene was a shining light for a Colorado franchise that had been pretty poor during his time with the club. The team made the playoffs just twice in his eight seasons with the Avalanche. Meanwhile, the Senators made the playoffs in four of Turris’ six full seasons in Ottawa. The argument can be made that Turris played with better teammates around him, which caused his expect goals statistics and
relative stats to go down.
Ottawa was reportedly set to lose Turris at the end of this season. He was in the last year of a five-year deal. Statistics aside, the trade allowed Ottawa to receive something for a player that was set to walk away as an unrestricted free agent next summer.
Nashville gets Turris for the final year of his Ottawa contract, but he will be extending it for another six. It looks like his career could very well end in Music City as he gets the deal Ottawa was afraid to make.
While the Senators would have lost Turris after the season, Duchene should be with the Senators until the end of the 2018-19 season. The club have had their eyes on Duchene for quite some time, and despite the large price to acquire him, the team will be happy it finally has the object of their affection. It has taken nearly two years to get him, but Ottawa finally has its man.
Main Image: Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene (9) battles Nashville Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm (14) for the puck during the NHL game between the Nashville Predators and the Colorado Avalanche on October 17, 2017, at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Danny Murphy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
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