Not much has been going right for the Colorado Avalanche this season, however they do have the chance to do now what other teams sometimes dream of: start over.
For a couple of weeks now, left-wing and captain Gabriel Landeskog and center Matt Duchene have been in trade rumors across the league. These two players will come at a high price, but it’s hard not to want to pay up when it is players of this caliber available.
Matt Duchene is certainly the more interesting name of the two. Drafted third overall in 2009, the speedy center has solidified himself as a premier talent in the league.
Duchene hit a career high in points three seasons ago with 70 in 71 games played. He’s trailed off a bit since, but that could be attributed to a number of things — most notably Colorado’s horrible possession numbers and lack of depth.
Sitting at 32 points in 45 games this season, Duchene would be on pace for almost 60 points in 82 games. Pretty solid numbers on a squad that may go down in the records books for the worst team in the salary cap era.
The popular rumor is that in exchange for Duchene, the Avalanche are looking for a proven player, a prospect, and a first round pick at minimum. They’ve placed an emphasis on wanting to get younger on defense.
A few teams come to mind when looking at these categories, but one team should stand out beyond the rest. It’s almost a match made in heaven.
The Carolina Hurricanes.
The Hurricanes have a glut of young defensemen and also have a need for a star center. They have the likes of Victor Rask and Jordan Staal, who are by no means slouches, but Duchene is on another level.
For defensemen 23 years old and under, the Hurricanes have Noah Hanifin, Brett Pesce, Jaccob Slavin, Ryan Murphy, Roland McKeown, Haydn Fleury, and Jake Bean.
Between all of the players on that list, which doesn’t even include Justin Faulk and Klas Dahlbeck, Carolina has a few parts they could spare.
It’s unlikely the Hurricanes trade Slavin. Pesce is a nice piece, but he alone is not enough to garner Duchene. Hanifin is an intriguing one, but giving him up would be a tough pill to swallow for Rom Francis. It’s not impossible, though.
Another bonus for both teams is the current position of Carolina in the standings. If they were to trade a 2017 first round pick to Colorado, it would likely fall into the 10-16 range. Not a deal breaker for Carolina, but certainly nice for Colorado.
At the end of the day, a lot of moving pieces are going to be needed for any team to acquire Matt Duchene. Carolina is perhaps in the best position to get him,
but it’s a matter of will for both teams.
More trade deadline coverage coming soon.