Posts Tagged ‘Matt Duchene’

The Ottawa Senators cutting Zack Smith was tough for some of his teammates to swallow.

The veteran forward was placed on waivers by the Senators on Tuesday, and is free to be claimed by the NHL’s other 30 clubs.

News of the suprising transaction shocked Smith’s teammates in the Senators’ locker room, particularly fellow veteran forward Matt Duchene.

“I’ll be honest, it’s a kick in the balls for us,” Duchene told TSN’s Brent Wallace.

“It’s tough because we love Smitty. He is a great leader, he is a great player,” Duchene added. “Unfortunately, I guess, sometimes in this business, things happen that are sometimes beyond hockey reasons and things like that. It’s tough right now, we are hurting.”

Whether Smith is claimed by another team could be determined by his contract, as the 30-year-old is signed for the next three seasons at a $3.25-million cap hit.

Smith was limited to five goals and 14 assists in 68 games with Ottawa last season. He notched a career-high 25 goals during the 2015-16 campaign.

Rival teams have until 12 p.m. ET on Wednesday to submit a claim for Smith. Waiver priority is based on last season’s reversed final standings.

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If Matt Duchene is to re-sign with the Ottawa Senators, it could depend on two of his teammates landing contract extensions of their own.

Duchene can become an unrestricted free agent next offseason, but the 27-year-old is keeping an eye on forward Mark Stone‘s and captain Erik Karlsson‘s futures in Ottawa to help decide whether he’ll stick with the Senators.

“Those are the things I want to sit back and watch,” Duchene told NHL.com’s Dan Rosen. “The nice thing is is I’m kind of the last domino in that sense. Those are things I want to see.”

Duchene, who is entering the campaign on the final season of a five-year, $30-million pact, could be among the top free agents available next summer should he choose to test the waters.

Like Duchene, both Stone and Karlsson can become unrestricted free agents in 2019. That became a reality for Stone after he agreed to a one-year deal in August ahead of an arbitration hearing, while Karlsson’s future in the Canadian capital has been a subject of trade chatter dating back to last season’s deadline.

“Erik, that’s a little bit different situation, but with (Mark), that’s a guy I’d love to move forward with as a teammate,” Duchene added. “Him doing a one-year deal, it’s a little bit different and makes you think a little bit, but I want to see what he’s saying and we’ll talk through it.

“Having talked about it, we both really like it in Ottawa and we both want it to work, so that’s the biggest thing.”

Despite a season’s worth of turmoil, Matt Duchene isn’t rejecting the possibility of signing a long-term deal with the Ottawa Senators.

With one season left on his contract, the forward is eligible to sign an extension at any point, and while he and general manager Pierre Dorion haven’t begun negotiations, the 27-year-old is open to committing to the nation’s capital.

“I’d love for it to work,” Duchene told NHL.com on Tuesday. “(Ontario) is my home province, three hours from home, Canadian city. Would be awesome if things could work out for sure.”

Duchene arrived in Ottawa last November via trade after a drawn-out split with the Colorado Avalanche – who surprisingly went on to qualify for the postseason while the Senators tumbled to a 30th-place finish.

Amid the organizational hardships, Duchene managed to play some strong hockey, registering 23 goals and 26 assists in 68 contests with Ottawa.

Matt Duchene won’t realize his goal of making the playoffs this season, but he still sees a future with the Ottawa Senators.

Duchene, who was acquired from Colorado earlier this season, can become an unrestricted free agent in 2019, and responded favorably to general manager Pierre Dorion saying the team would like to discuss a contract extension as early as July 1 of this year.

“Absolutely,” Duchene said Saturday with regards to interest on his end, per Postmedia’s Bruce Garrioch. “I’m encouraged from what I see here. Obviously, there’s a whole other business side to approach and I have no idea what that’s going to look like and feel like yet.”

Whether the two sides can ultimately agree to terms is yet to be seen, but there’s clearly an appetite to try and find some common ground.

“I guess we’ll see but that’s encouraging to hear that they’re interested and trying to work something out long term. I’ve really enjoyed my time here as tough as the season has been for the team. I feel I’ve been able to be more myself than I have in a long time here and it’s been encouraging for me.”

Duchene got off to a slow start with the Senators, but he’s recorded 40 points in 60 contests since the trade and is averaging almost a point per game since the All-Star break with 12 goals and 13 assists in his last 27 appearances.

The Colorado Avalanche have turned things around in a hurry.

Coming off an historically awful 2016-17, the Avs have reeled off nine wins in a row, currently sit in a Western Conference wild-card playoff spot, and are withing striking distance of third place in the ultra-competitive Central Division.

Following that ninth consecutive victory Saturday over the New York Rangers, defenseman Erik Johnson spoke about the commitment made by the team’s core players to avoid a repeat performance of last year.

“The way things went last year, I think the easy thing to say would have been: ‘It’s not working here, let’s go somewhere else, let’s jump ship,'” Johnson said Saturday, per Rick Sadowski of NHL.com. “The character guys and core guys in this room said we want to figure things out here in Colorado, make it work.”

Earlier this season, Colorado shook up the roster by coming through on a trade request filed last year by Matt Duchene, one made because he was tired of losing.

“I wanted to play playoff hockey,” Duchene explained at the time of the trade, per Bruce Garrioch of Postmedia. “I’ve got eight playoff games to my name right now and that’s not where I want to be at this point of my career.”

Heading into Saturday’s game against Toronto, Duchene’s Ottawa Senators sat second to last in the Eastern Conference, all but out of the playoff picture.

Things continue to go from bad to worse for the nose-diving Ottawa Senators, as former Sens pivot Kyle Turris is casting some negative light on the club’s ownership.

Turris was dealt to the Nashville Predators in November in a three-way deal that saw Ottawa acquire highly sought-after sniper Matt Duchene. And as Turris sees it, the reason he’s now rocking yellow and blue instead of his more familiar black and red is Senators owner Eugene Melnyk.

“It’s tough because I think management did want to sign me, but I think that the owner didn’t. And that was his decision,” Turris said Wednesday, according to Josh Clipperton of The Canadian Press.

To this point, the trade is looking fairly one-sided in the Predators’ favor, as Turris is gelling nicely in Nashville on a line with Craig Smith and Kevin Fiala, notching 13 points in 14 games. Meanwhile, Duchene has struggled to fit in with his new club, registering two goals and two assists for an Ottawa team that has one win in its last 10 games.

Turris’ comments provide a bit of clarity to a messy contract situation that Senators fans are probably wishing played out a lot differently, as Ottawa has gone 3-10-2 since acquiring Duchene.

 
 

Matt Duchene shed some light on why he requested a trade from the Colorado Avalanche last December.

With the Avalanche mired in a historically awful season at the time, Duchene – who was dealt to the Ottawa Senators on Sunday – saw signs that general manager Joe Sakic was leading the club into a retooling phase. Having been down that road before, the now 26-year-old wasn’t willing to spend his prime years not seriously competing for the Stanley Cup.

As a result, Duchene made the request to management, which he called “the hardest thing I ever had to do” at an introductory press conference in Ottawa on Monday.

“I wanted to play playoff hockey” he explained, per Bruce Garrioch of Postmedia. “I’ve got eight playoff games to my name right now and that’s not where I want to be at this point of my career. I only get one shot at this. I get to play this game for however long my body lets me play it and I felt I wanted to let Joe know it was time to move on.”

Duchene was a Colorado fan as a kid, and dreamed of winning the Cup with the Avalanche. His 586 regular-season games with the franchise only translated into two trips to the playoffs, however, wherein he recorded six assists in eight games.

The Senators came within a goal of advancing to the Stanley Cup Final last season and certainly hope Duchene will add to his postseason totals with the club.