When NHL free agency opened a month and a half ago and teams were wheeling and dealing while setting up their 2017-18 rosters, there were plenty of rumors the Columbus Blue Jackets were interested in acquiring talented Colorado forward Matt Duchene.
But now that we've passed the halfway point of August, Duchene remains a member of the Avalanche. And to hear Colorado general manager Joe Sakic tell it, there doesn't appear any movement when it comes to moving Duchene.
Speaking to media at his annual charity golf tournament on Thursday, Sakic said there are no trade talks between the Avs and any other teams at the moment, the Denver Post reported.
“I will be listening to offers. Right now it’s quiet on all fronts,” Sakic said. “But I’ll listen to offers on how we can get better. I’ll never name names but I’ll sit there and if something makes sense for the way we want to go, with our team, we’ll really look at that.”
If you were married to the idea of the Jackets adding Duchene, that's not exactly exciting news.
Of course, this doesn't mean Duchene won't be traded at some point. The Avalanche seem to remain far away from contention coming off a 48-point season that was 22 less than any other squad in the league. The squad continues to go through a rebuilding process, and if the 26-year-old Duchene can fetch a haul of prospects, the Avs still seem likely to make a move.
Columbus also remains a likely potential destination. The Blue Jackets continue to have almost $13 million in cap space, more than enough to absorb the $6 million cap hit that remains on Duchene's deal over the next two seasons, and there's depth in key places like defense where Colorado would be looking to get better. Columbus could also use some more veteran skill players after seeing wingers Scott Hartnell and Sam Gagner leave the team this offseason.
Duchene remains someone noted for his ability to put up points even after finishing with 18 goals and 23 assists in 77 games last year without much help around him. The year prior, he netted a career-high 30 goals, and even with last year's struggles, his scoring chance numbers at 5-on-5 remained similar to previous seasons. In his career, the third overall pick in the 2009 draft has averaged 25 goals and 35 assists per 82 games in his eight-year career.
And as it stands, he'll likely remain an Av going into training camp. How long he'll stay in the Mile High City remains to be seen.