Could it happen? Can the Carolina Hurricanes really pull Matt Duchene from the Colorado Avalanche? Well, maybe, and this is how they can try to do it.
Just recently, we at Cardiac Cane previewed the Carolina Hurricanes strategy for this upcoming trade deadline. We predicted that the moves the Canes would try to make would be more likely on the smaller side. However, rumblings around the internet are saying that this deadline might a little more exciting. Like Matt Duchene exciting.
Reports are that Joe Sakic, the Avs general manager, is shopping Duchene and captain Gabriel Landeskog. Even more exciting is that apparently Carolina is in contact with Sakic to snag one of these guys in a trade. The rumors fancy Duchene as Carolina’s target.
While this is all speculation and its more likely than not Carolina won’t seal the deal here, its still very exciting. The very prospect of acquiring Duchene goes against our predictions and Ron Francis’ previous statements, making this rumor all the more interesting. Even though its a bit crazy, Carolina actually matches up as a great potential trade partner for Colorado meaning this rumor certainly has some credibility.
It is assumed Sakic wants to acquire young defensemen and Carolina is overflowing with them almost. With this in mind, here are three possible trades for the Canes and Avs to make regarding Matt Duchene.
*conditional pick: which ever pick is higher between Carolina’s own 3rd rounder or New Jersey’ 3rd rounder acquired in Tuumo Ruutu trade
This is an example of the most preferable type of trade that could be made from a Hurricanes perspective. Carolina’s most tradable asset at the moment is arguable Haydn Fleury. Although he hasn’t hit the NHL just yet, the 2014 1st round pick is built to thrive in the NHL. As a huge guy who can skate, he is tailor-made for the modern game. He would be extremely attractive to any team, let alone a team desperate for defensemen like Colorado.
That alone wouldn’t be enough though. Carolina would likely have to surrender their 1st round pick this season as well. Also, with Sakic hoping to make this rebuild/retool go faster, he will probably want another one of Carolina’s top-100 picks in the 2017 draft. The 4th rounder from Colorado to Carolina is there to balance it all out.
Both sides should be pretty happy with this. For Colorado, they get a great prospect in Fleury who should be a long time NHL d-man, plus a 1st rounder. On the other side, Carolina finally gets a true offensive howitzer in Duchene. The Canes could now role with Duchene, Rask, and Staal as top 3 centers. That’s scary good. The loss of Fleury and the picks aren’t great, but adding a proven weapon like Duchene makes it worth it.
Sort of in the same mold as the last one, this trade has Carolina move more prospects rather than picks. Besides Fleury, both Roland McKeown and Jake Bean are the next best tradable defensive assets. McKeown is close to the NHL, but not there quite yet. Bean is Carolina’s most recent 1st overall pick but has some developing to do. He projects to be a really good offensive defenseman down the road. He might look very similar to current Avs d-man Tyson Barrie, except with better defensive instincts.
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Carolina makes this move for the same reasons as above but would get to keep their 1st round pick. They instead sacrifice a really excellent prospect in Jake Bean, who has more upside than Fleury. McKeown looks to be a solid NHLer, but nothing jaw dropping. The 2nd round pick shouldn’t be overlooked either. As the Canes have shown with Sebastian Aho, Victor Rask, and Justin Faulk, 2nd rounders can be very helpful to a team.
If Sakic wants to expedite his reshaping of the Avalanche, he could elect to go for more established prospects rather than grabbing them in the draft. McKeown could play as early as next season and Bean is probably 2 years out. Picks would take longer bear fruit. If the Avalanche want to try to win soon, a move like this could be their best bet.
In the final trade possibility, we address the elephant in the room. If the Canes were to get Matt Duchene, its very likely Justin Faulk is part of the package. He’d fit pretty well on the Avs blue line and give them instant support on the back end. You’d have to think that Sakic wants the two time All-Star as part of a Duchene deal.
This scenario is by far the trickiest for Carolina. On one hand, there is a lot of good that comes from a one for one type of deal. The Canes wouldn’t surrender any picks, helping them continue to stockpile prospects. Also, they get to keep blue chip prospects like Bean and Fleury. On the other, they lose the backbone of their defense and their power play specialist in Faulk. His leadership would also be missed sorely.
Assessing the positives from the negatives is a toss up for Carolina. Losing Faulk’s offensive production hurts, but Duchene would ideally make it up and then some. It doesn’t just stop there. Players like Jaccob Slavin or Noah Hanifin would be thrown into powerplay quarterback roles they might not be ready for. But, of course, Duchene would help on the man advantage right? It’s just so uncertain.
In the games Faulk has missed this season, the Canes have gone 3-4-1. If the Canes want to make the playoffs, that record should look more like 4-3-1. Could Duchene deliver that extra win? That’s up for GM Ron Francis to decide.