Things were already far from “rosy” in Denver before the start of pre-camp. Former third overall pick in the 2009 NHL Draft, Matt Duchene had been confirmed to be on the trade block since March of 2017.
For six months now Matt Duchene has been a tradeable asset for the other 30 teams in the NHL. For six months Matt Duchene hasn’t been able to escape the rumors that a trade was coming.
It’s actually been longer than six months. The frenzy on trying to acquire Duchene has been going steady for almost two years now. But six months ago is when the trade rumors, speculations and stories started reaching their crescendo.
Go Back To The Start
The disdain around Duchene in Colorado seems to have started when Patrick Roy was still the yelly coach behind the Avs bench. Near the tail end of the 2015-16 Duchene, then on 29 goals had the audacity to celebrate scoring his 30th goal of the season on a night the Avalanche were soundly outplayed.
They lost that game 5-1. And coach Roy was far from pleased. Going on camera and questioning his player’s mentality celebrating and such a time.
From there it’s been a slow dissolve to where we are today. Matt Duchene is a shell of what he once was. He put up a career low 41 points in 2016-17 as his Colorado Avalanche had one of the worst seasons in recent memory.
Is It Actually A Hold-Out?
At this point, it certainly seems like Matt Duchene is holding out for a trade. Sure. He isn’t required to show up to this Avalanche pre-training camp, but it’s widely expected that he would.
Speaking to the media Avalanche captain and fellow trade bait player Gabriel Landeskog said the following of Duchene’s absence:
As of right now, he’s part Avalanche organization and we all expect him to be here when training camp starts. I don’t really know what else to tell you right now.
We Don’t See Hold Outs Of This Nature
It’s true. We don’t see this type of hold out frequently. It’s rare that a player holds out for a new situation. Most hold-outs have to do with contracts. Or are at least centered around contract negotiations.
That’s what happened with P.K. Subban and Jamie Been in Montréal and Dallas respectively. It’s what happened with Paul Coffey and John Tonelli held out for more money from their organizations.
Jonathan Drouin is perhaps a name the closest situation that comes to mind. But Drouin held out because of how the organization was using him. He held out because what he felt was a lack of playing time for a player of his skill. So when he was demoted to the AHL he lashed out to try and control his future.
You can say that Jacob Trouba wanted out of Winnipeg last season. And that’s of course true. But to his credit, he and his representation came out and said exactly why they wanted out. They wanted, just like Drouin a bigger role for their player.
Matt Duchene wasn’t at risk of losing playing time in Colorado. And he’s at no risk of falling down the Avalanche’s center depth chart. And his hold out isn’t about money. He still has two years at $6 million per season. That’s fair compensation for a player of his caliber.
Will It Help?
Will this push Joe Sakic to make a trade? Probably not. I don’t see how this helps the situation. It public voices Duchene’s displeasure with his situation, but we’ve all read between the lines. We know he isn’t happy.
We know that Joe Sakic is approaching this trade negotiation with the other teams in the league with a firm asking price. He isn’t swaying from it and I don’t see how this helps.
Like it or not Joe Sakic and the Colorado Avalanche control Matt Duchene’s NHL rights for the next two seasons. Sakic is in no rush to trade his asset. Especially if his asset is trying to influence the market negatively for the Avalanche.
Sakic wants what he wants and isn’t going to move on it.
I can understand the “he’s toxic for the room” argument, and there’s some merit to that. But teams generally operate on the “no one’s bigger than the club” mentality. The Avalanche won’t be forced to do something that is to their disadvantage if they don’t have to.
I can’t imagine Matt Duchene’s agent, Pat Brisson, advised him to do this. It just seems petty and emotional with no chance of immediate success. If you want to facilitate a trade a player has to make himself tradeable. Not playing or not showing up to what’s simply a team-building exercise doesn’t paint him with the best stroke.
Matt Duchene will eventually be traded. There’s no doubt. Where and for what remains to be seen. But this little move won’t help expedite matters in the slightest.