When the Columbus Blue Jackets put together a deal sending Brandon Saad back to Chicago for Artemi Panarin, the story went from rumor to completed trade in a matter of minutes in late June.
In contrast, the rumors of a deal sending Colorado center Matt Duchene to Columbus have persisted for weeks, with some suggesting the Avalanche's steep asking price has held up a potential deal.
Sportsnet analyst and NHL insider Elliotte Friedman shed a little more light on the subject today in an interview with an Edmonton radio station, saying that the value of Blue Jackets defenseman Ryan Murray could be part of the holdup.
"Some people rip the Avalanche and they say they’re being obstinate," Friedman said. "Their perspective is – look, for Columbus, one of the guys Columbus was talking about was Ryan Murray. And I really don’t like where I’m going to go with this because I have a bad feeling it’s going to be totally misinterpreted because I don’t want to insult Ryan Murray, but the way Colorado looks at it is he is their fifth defenseman. (And they say,) ‘We’re not trading Matt Duchene for a fifth defenseman.’
“Now, I don’t think that Ryan Murray is a fifth defenseman. I think on that team he has become one. And he has become expendable. They look at (Zach) Werenski. They look at (David) Savard. They look at their trade for Seth Jones. They’ve got a couple of really good young kids coming. They’ve kept the veteran in Jack Johnson.
“So in Columbus’ eyes, Murray has fallen down their depth chart. And I think Colorado looks at that and says, ‘Why are we going to make a deal for a guy – yes, he can help us, but it’s not really hurting them to give him up.’
“And I hope that doesn’t get misconstrued as an insult to Ryan Murray because that’s not what I mean by it. I’m just saying he’s not one of their top D. So I think that’s kind of part of the problem, is they look at it and say, ‘Well we need more than that.’"
Friedman also mentions that Colorado has asked Nashville about defenseman Mattias Ekholm, a trade the Predators aren't interested in after Ekholm's strong playoff performance.
Murray has been rumored to be a potential trade chip for the Blue Jackets this offseason, as the No. 2 overall pick in the 2012 draft has battled injury in his time in Columbus. He was a third-pair defenseman for Columbus this past season after the emergence of the Werenski-Jones pairing and the steady play of Savard and Johnson before missing the end of the campaign with a broken hand.
In 220 games with the Blue Jackets over four seasons, Murray has 11 goals, 49 assists, 60 points, a minus-2 rating and a CF% of 48.2. He has a cap hit of $2.825 million this year before becoming a restricted free agent.
As for where the deal goes from here, Friedman made another point that could be of interest to Columbus fans. Chris MacFarland is Colorado's assistant general manager, a similar post to what he held in Columbus in the summer of 2012 when the Blue Jackets traded Rick Nash to the New York Rangers. Friedman pointed out the Nash deal didn't occur until July 23 of that year, and the Avs will likely use the same level of patience when it comes to getting what they think they deserve for Duchene.
"They waited until they got what they wanted, so I think Colorado is going to follow the same path," Friedman said.
The Avs had the worst record in the NHL last season. Duchene, 26, had an 18-23-41 line in 77 games but has 174 goals and 418 points in 572 games in eight seasons with Colorado.
[H/T: Fanrag Sports]