Vancouver Canucks roundtable: Debating a Matt Duchene trade

VANCOUVER, BC - JANUARY 02: Colorado Avalanche Center Matt Duchene (9) skates in on Vancouver Canucks Goalie Ryan Miller (30) during a NHL hockey game on January 02, 2016, at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, BC. Vancouver won 3-2. (Photo by Bob Frid/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
VANCOUVER, BC - JANUARY 02: Colorado Avalanche Center Matt Duchene (9) skates in on Vancouver Canucks Goalie Ryan Miller (30) during a NHL hockey game on January 02, 2016, at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, BC. Vancouver won 3-2. (Photo by Bob Frid/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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A possible Matt Duchene trade to the Vancouver Canucks has picked up steam again. The Canuck Way staff weighs on whether or not the front office should make a move for the Colorado Avalanche star.

The Vancouver Canucks could undoubtedly use a bonafide scorer to help them accelerate this rebuild, though general manager Jim Benning hasn’t been the type to deal away young assets for a quick fix.

There is always the trade market, however. And the rumors of this team possibly going after Matt Duchene of the Colorado Avalanche will not go away.

As everyone knows, Duchene has been the subject of trade rumors since the Avalanche played through an extremely frustrating 2016-17 season, but general manager Joe Sakic hasn’t found anyone to meet his high asking price. The search for a Duchene trade goes on.

But could Benning and the Canucks make a play for the 26-year-old? Over the weekend, Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet had this to say:

"The feeling now is perhaps maybe Vancouver getting in the mix and a lot of talk about [Olli] Juolevi, who also went in the same year at the draft as Sergachev but does not carry that same type of feeling that this guy is ready to play just yet. So until Joe Sakic hits that home run, Matt Duchene may have to wait a little longer.”"

So here we are once again. The Avalanche continue to delay an inevitable Duchene trade, while reports of the Canucks possibly inquiring won’t go away. Our staff at The Canuck Way decided it was a good time to debate whether or not a trade makes sense.

First, a look at the folks who aren’t on Team Trade For Duchene.

Alex Hoegler

The Canucks shouldn’t trade for Duchene because of of the price, first and foremost. Sakic is obviously asking for a lot — at least three young assets. So the rebuilding Canucks — with limited prospects and picks — should give those up for a guy who’s at best a 25-goal, 50-point guy? I just don’t see it.

Duchene is also only under contract next season. What if the Canucks trade for him and he signs elsewhere in 2019 ?  Vancouver is building up a nice group of young forwards that share Duchene’s skill set. He’s a good player, but he’s not the only missing piece in this team’s quest to rebuild into a championship contender.

Scott Rosenhek

Jim Benning should stay as far away from Matt Duchene as possible. The disgruntled Colorado forward will be 27 in January and only has this year and next left on his deal.

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His current cap hit is $6 million and he will want a pay raise, regardless of how his play has dropped off.

If you think the Loui Eriksson contract was bad, then this future contract could be disastrous. I would rather use the cap space from the Sedins’ future retirement to bring in better UFAs and sign our existing young core.

Having to move a first round pick and Olli Juolevi would be the silliest thing this management group has done, which is saying a lot. The Canucks blue line is in shambles and the prospect pipeline on defence is very thin after Juolevi. A move like this could once again set back the Canucks in their “rebuild.”

If a trade like this happens, the Canucks are putting a band-aid on a problem they have failed to address: a successor for Henrik Sedin. Trading for Duchene tells Bo Horvat that the team does not believe in him, despite his new contract. If Duchene is a stop gap centre until Bo is ready, then that is one expensive price to pay. Matt Duchene does not turn this team into a playoff contender.

He may look good now, but he has a shooting percentage of 16.7, well above his career average of 12.2. His stats will even out as the season goes on. Last season, he had a goals for percentage of 35 at even strength! I don’t think Duchene will be as bad this year, but he won’t be worth the price of acquiring him.

Tyler Shipley

This would be a bad move, unless Duchene came cheap (which he won’t). Most of the rumours suggest it will take at least Juolevi and a pick to get Duchene, and this doesn’t make sense for the Canucks right now.

Defence is Vancouver’s weakest link, with a depth chart that absolutely plummets after Chris Tanev and Alexander Edler. The prospect pool on the back end doesn’t look great either. So Juolevi didn’t have a great camp. Okay that happens. It’s not reason enough to give up on the best defensive prospect in our system, when what we desperately need are blue chip defenders to replace Tanev and Edler.

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As for Duchene, how does he fit in a rebuild? He’s too old to be part of the youth movement; by the time Elias Pettersson and Jonathan Dahlen are established NHL players he will be well into his 30s.

He will be a UFA at the end of next season; will the Canucks plan to re-sign him? Another massive contract for a veteran player, because that worked out well with Brandon Sutter and Eriksson. Or would we trade him for assets? Which begs the question why give up assets in the first place?!

It doesn’t make sense. Duchene is a good player but he doesn’t fit into the Canucks’ plans right now.