Struggling with injuries and finding offensive punch, the Nashville Predators should look at a name familiar to links with the Preds.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, the Nashville Predators need to make a move for Matt Duchene. We’ve been here before, obviously, when rumors dragged on and on about Duchene being unhappy with the Colorado Avalanche. It seemed like we might actually see Duchene in Preds’ gold, when a three-team deal with Ottawa and Colorado was announced. Instead, Duchene ended up with the Senators and the Predators received Kyle Turris.
I wouldn’t change anything about that deal, so don’t go thinking I want to do away with Kyle Turris. In fact, the recent injury suffered by Turris is a large reason Nashville needs a guy like Duchene. In 82 combined games with Colorado and Ottawa last season, Duchene scored 27 goals to go along with 32 assists, 23 goals and 26 assists coming with a bad Ottawa team. The third overall pick in the 2009 draft averages just over 21 goals and 51 points a season, plays a position of weakness for the Predators and wants to get out of Ottawa. The Senators aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, though I admit their 25 points through 26 games surprised me.
It’s hard to say what a guy of Duchene’s caliber would cost the Predators, but consider that he’s an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, doesn’t want to be in Ottawa, and has said he’d like to be in Nashville in the past.
Ottawa has no 1st round picks in 2019 and Preds’ GM David Poile doesn’t use one of those as often as others. Oh! Look at that the Preds have a 2019 1st to give and with Duchene being just 27 years old, they wouldn’t be mortgaging the future too much by giving it up.
The second piece of the trade would be Kevin Fiala. Yes, his potential is there and it would be hard to move on from him at just 22-years-old. However, it may help his career to stick him with Brady Tkachuk and some of the other young prospects in Ottawa. There he can be another exciting up-and-comer and not necessarily have the pressure of being a major scoring option for a Stanley Cup contender. Ottawa would surely love a young talented player like Fiala, but would a package of Fiala and a 1st get a deal done?
To pry Matt Duchene away from the Sens this far from the trade deadline might take a little extra convincing, so maybe a player like Frederick Gaudreau added to the deal would sweeten the pot a bit.
In any case, getting Duchene would be an immense help to the Preds. He’s a career 1.8 in Relative Corsi For and 1.7 Relative Fenwick For. This, when placed in the context how 48% defensive zone starts and playing on bad teams for a majority of his career, should really perk Nashville Predators fans’ interest. This season alone he has a Relative Cosi For of 2.0 and a Relative Fenwick For of 2.3, a PDO at Even Strength of 102.3 and is tied for 9th in the NHL with 3.0 Offensive Point Shares on this version of the Ottawa Senators! Imagine the possibilities of playing with the likes of Filip Forsberg, Craig Smith, Ryan Johansen, and, when they return from injury, Turris and Viktor Arvidsson.
In the end, maybe the price to pay is too high, but with Kevin Fiala not quite getting the job done and the offense unable to get going, it might be time to take a second (third? fourth?) look at Matt Duchene.