Trade market slow but not over for Matt Duchene, and Penguins could jump in

The progress meter for a potential Matt Duchene trade this NHL offseason has hardly moved since the Colorado Avalanche center was floated as a possible big-name acquisition at March's in-season deadline.

Playoff contenders like the Nashville Predators were reported to be after Duchene's services around the time free agency kicked off early in July, and that was after other teams (see: Chicago Blackhawks) already wrapped up blockbuster deals of their own. Then, with the top crop of veterans off the market, reports surfaced that Colorado's asking price for the 26-year-old Duchene was "definitely the holdup" in trade talks, with the Avalanche apparently seeking multiple first-round draft picks in return.

At one point, TSN hockey insider Darren Dreger said that a delayed deal for Duchene, who has long been anticipating a move out of town, could become quite the distraction for both parties.

As July reaches its halfway point, the interest in Duchene even amid reportedly high demands from Colorado exec Joe Sakic, hasn't exactly died off, according to Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman.

Everyone decided to take a deep breath and go back to their corners when Matt Duchene wasn't traded July 1. It sounds like everyone is realizing the possibility he could start next season in Colorado. But remember this: Avalanche assistant GM Chris MacFarland was with Scott Howson in Columbus when Howson waited until July 20, 2012, to trade Rick Nash. Sometimes the best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour, and MacFarland could be following that blueprint. I wouldn't be surprised if interested parties (Boston, Columbus, Nashville, Pittsburgh, maybe Calgary) try again to see if anything shakes loose.

Friedman also went on to note in an appearance on Sportsnet 590, according to FanRag Sports, that the Pittsburgh Penguins could very well "be on the fringe of this." 

"I think the Penguins have to do some other things in order to even have a chance, and I'm not really sure they have (the room to get there)," Friedman said, "but I think that Pittsburgh would be the kind of team ... just like (Phil) Kessel thrived there, I think a guy like Duchene would, too."

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