The good news that almost all Predators fans can agree on is that the days of Duchene being labeled as just an overpaid, unmotivated scrub are over. He is not replicating last year’s production, as was expected, but he has consistently been among the team’s most prolific scorers all season and is clearly in a better spot than someone like Johansen.
Duchene’s talent continues to be on display every night, and even more so than the previous two on this list, he has a good chance to be maximized by a good team with actual offensive structure.
If a team does indeed trade for Duchene, they will actually be forced to make somewhat of a commitment to him.
Duchene has three more years after this one on his contract, and its modified no-trade clause, which contains seven teams, begins next season. So he would hold some of the cards in a potential trade.
However, Duchene is someone who has been seen as more and more of a leader as his time in Nashville has progressed, and between that, his offensive skill, and how much he has shined in the city itself, the Predators may just opt to keep him around for the duration.
Guys with contracts like Duchene’s rarely get moved as is to begin with, and the team probably values him too much to be willing to retain any salary in a potential trade.
Duchene has done very well alongside Filip Forsberg in the past, so I could see a situation where the Predators hire a new head coach, try to get younger at the forward position, and in a few years, are in a situation where they have driven up his value, and can capitalize on it.
I still do not think it would be impossible to ship off Duchene at the upcoming deadline or offseason, but there are just too many reasons why it would not happen.