Matt Duchene might be the most unsurprising trade chip of the NHL offseason, but all signs point to the Colorado Avalanche standing pat in negotiations with teams interested in the 26-year-old forward.
Addressing trade talks in an appearance on Winnipeg's TSN 1290 this week, TSN hockey insider Darren Dreger said Colorado's asking price for Duchene, a former No. 3 overall pick, is "definitely the holdup" to potential deals. The Avalanche, in fact, might have been seeking a return "as high as a couple of first-round picks, or at least a first-round pick and a former first-round draft pick who's now a young NHL prospect, and then some and then some," according to Dreger.
Colorado clung to Duchene during the 2016-17 season despite rampant speculation regarding a potential trade-deadline deal for their young center. And despite an open admittance of a possible move this summer, the team is apparently eyeing quite the compensation package for their coveted forward.
It's a mentality, Dreger speculated, that could indirectly turn off interest from teams like the Boston Bruins or Nashville Predators. Or, perhaps even worse, leave no team satisfied and affect Duchene entering the new season.
Where it becomes problematic, though, is if it drifts into the late summer – which it looks like it might – and into training camp, and then into the regular season. Because this has been a distraction for Matt Duchene. It's definitely been a distraction for the Colorado Avalanche in general. And I would have thought that management in Colorado would have appreciated that and done what they could to try and alleviate that distraction. They don't need that as an organization going into another season.