The 2017 NHL Expansion and Entry Drafts have come and gone and while there was plenty of wheeling and dealing, forward Matt Duchene is still a Colorado Avalanche. The word around the league is that general manager Joe Sakic is still standing firm on his trade demands for the 2009 third pick overall, asking for a top two or top six forward, a top prospect and a first or second round draft pick. Word out of Chicago from multiple NHL sources is that the closest Sakic has come to that was likely an offer from the Islanders and GM Garth Snow that centered around defenseman Travis Hamonic. That wasn’t enough and Hamonic ended up going to the Calgary Flames in exchange for a 2018 first-round pick, a 2018 second-round pick and another second-round pick from either 2019 or 2020.
“If Sakic wanted he could’ve eventually had Hamonic on the same blue line as the best defenseman in this draft,” one NHL executive told Murphy’s Hockey Law.
Of course the exec was referring to Cale Makar, whom the Av’s took fourth overall. Makar will attend UMass-Amherst in the fall and lace up for the Minutemen in the 2017-18 season. Defense is clearly an issue in Colorado and potentially having Hamonic and Makar on their blue line in 2018-19 would’ve been nice. But for reasons only Sakic and Snow know as of now, the fit wasn’t right for the two teams to do business. According to this same NHL exec, the belief is that Sakic is overvaluing Duchene’s worth right now but that could change this coming week as the free agency courting period begins before free agent frenzy July 1.
“Look I get it, Duchene’s a No.3 pick and a great player,” the exec said. “But right now his value isn’t as high as maybe they want it to be, so it will be interesting to see what they do. He’s been publicly shopped and while he could still end up staying. that has to be awkward.”
Sources tell MHL the Islanders remain interested as they try to build more offense around John Tavares. They acquired Jordan Eberle from Edmonton and still want to add a center like Duchene behind Tavares. In addition to the Isles, it’s believed that the Canadiens, Devils, Coyotes and Kings all have had more than just exploratory talks with Sakic on Duchene.
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