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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Why Canucks should acquire Duchene

Trading for Duchene comes with plenty of benefits, however. He’s one of the game’s top skaters and brings a great set of wheels — coming the Canucks could easily use more of. Duchene is usually good for 20 goals and 50-60 points a season when healthy, too.

Now, these two gentlemen would like to make their cases as to why Benning should make the move for Duchene.

Andrew Nazareth

I think that Jim Benning should absolutely try and acquire Matt Duchene. But what about the “rebuild”, this new word that Vancouverites are throwing out like Halloween candy? Well, rebuilds are unpredictable and it may take a while to become competitive again.

People point to the Edmonton Oilers and Toronto Maple Leafs rebuild as blueprints for the Canucks to follow. Its hard to follow winning a lottery and getting to draft the two best players in the world. Leaving your team’s fate to chance is a poor way to rebuild your team.

The Canucks have never drafted first overall, and if the last two draft lotteries are any indication, I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for a Canucks lottery win. The team needs a bonafide number one centre to alleviate some of the offensive pressure off Bo Horvat, and Matt Duchene is just the guy to do it. 

If I were Jim Benning, I would offer the Colorado Avalanche Brandon Sutter, Olli Juolevi, and a 1st round pick (with a condition the Canucks get to choose whether it be 2019 or 2020) for Matt Duchene. The Canucks would have to move another player in a separate deal to be cap compliant, but besides that this deal could work.

What the Avalanche lack is a centreman who can be used in primarily in a shutdown role. Brandon Sutter is a good centreman who has been trusted by most of his coaches, analytics be damned. Coaches love him and that’s what makes him valuable. Plus, Sutter can also chip in offensively from time to time and can be used in all situations.

Olli Juolevi is exactly the type of defenseman the Avalanche need. The Avs are not looking for an offensive minded defenceman prospect like a Mikhail Sergachev, they have offensive defenceman in Tyson Barrie and university stud Cale Makar.

They need someone who can compliment them in the defensive end, and have the similar wherewithal to move the puck up ice quickly to the forward. Juolevi can absolutely be that guy. He would be a great fit because there would be no pressure for him to produce offensively, while he can do what he does best; getting the puck out of his own zone. Would it set back the Canucks defensive prospect pool? Absolutely it would, but the Canucks can acquire defensive prospects through other means.

Matt Duchene would provide the Canucks an instant number one centre, who could potentially form a fantastic duo with Brock Boeser. Additionally, Duchene’s presence would make Horvat the second line centre and allow him to have more favourable matchups.

With the presence of Duchene, the Canucks would have no reason to retain the Sedins (giving them fourteen million dollars in cap space to play with) and can keep Elias Pettersson another year in Sweden to really tear the barn doors off the Swedish Elite League. It would also generate healthy competition between Markus Granlund and Adam Gaudette for the third line role.

Say if Duchene doesn’t want to stay with the Canucks at next year’s trade deadline? Then ship him off to the highest bidder. With the Canucks having ample cap space to retain salary, they could get a princely return for him and essentially recoup some (or more, if him and Boeser produce) the assets they paid. Not to mention having Duchene would put more butts in seats at Rogers Arena.

David Joun

I may be stating the obvious but Duchene is a first-line centre with the speed and skillset that are superior to Horvat’s. Duchene has defensive upsides as well and he is a force that drives possession and wins faceoffs. Even when the Avalanche had a historically low year last year, Duchene managed a positive Corsi For% and is also building on that this year with a +9.5 relative Corsi For%.

He has never had a below-even year in the faceoffs aside from his rookie season. He was an astounding 62.6% last year and is 54.4% successful this year already. The Canucks can justify his acquisition as an addition of speed, skill and defensive prowess.

Three years of Duchene (until he is 30 years old) as 1C and Horvat as 2C is an intriguing idea until Pettersson jumps in. We should also note that Pettersson might now have to be considered as a winger and not a centre. He has not played down the middle in the SHL this season.

The cost of Duchene is both a good and a bad point for the Canucks. The rumoured cost for Duchene – a top prospect, a 1st round pick, and a roster player – is too much for the Canucks to give up if Juolevi is involved. A Canucks 1st-round pick is also likely a top-ten/top-five pick in the coming drafts so that is also too much to give up for Duchene.

But the fact that the Canucks are right up against the cap and cannot take on Duchene’s $6M contract means that they will have to send that much salary back to Colorado. A Canuck roster player earning that type of money? Only the Sedins, Loui Eriksson, Bo Horvat make over $5M a year.

Next: Prospects Watch Week #2: Canada's Finest

My general offer:

And that concludes our roundtable for the Vancouver Canucs possibly trading for Matt Duchene. We’re sure the rumors and reports are far from over, so we’ll just have to play the waiting game to see if Duchene does join the west coast.