Finding a way to keep Matt Duchene in Columbus, Ohio is at the top of the to-do list for the Blue Jackets in the 2019 offseason.
Craig Custance of The Athletic wrote an informative piece about the top-20 unrestricted free agents as July 1 will be upon us before we know it. Who showed up a number three? You may have guessed it. Matt Duchene.
"His Eyes opened up a little bit," said one NHL source of Duchene and Columbus being a possible fit.– Craig Custance- The Athletic
Duchene had 4 goals and 8 assists in 23 regular-season games with the Jackets before raising the bar in the postseason, averaging a point per game with 5 goals and 5 assists in 10 games.
One of the unforgettable moments (as seen below) the center provided was his game-winning goal in double overtime to tie up the second-round series against the Boston Bruins at one game apiece.
“It was a great experience. I'm really sad it's over and when I say over—when I say over, I mean in terms of the playoff run—because it just felt like we had a special group in there," Duchene said during his exit interview. "It doesn't matter if you win the Stanley Cup or come in dead last, there are always changes to a team. That will be the case here, also. It's unfortunate that we couldn't have won it together as a group because it's a great group".
Duchene joined his Columbus teammates (as shown in the tweet below) to celebrate Riley Nash's 30th birthday in Nashville, a city that incidentally has been rumored to be a serious contender to land him in free agency. At least the guys had some fun after their season came to a finish.
It felt too good to be true when the CBJ took an all-in approach at the trade deadline and acquired Duchene, a top-tier center from the Ottawa Senators. Re-signing Duchene this summer would reinvigorate the fan base once again, while failing to do so would be yet another giant gut punch.