Sport Duchene situation hovers over Avalanche as NHL camps open

01:16  14 september  2017
01:16  14 september  2017 Source:   Associated Press

Inside the 2017-18 Avalanche: Moving forward, with or without Matt Duchene

  Inside the 2017-18 Avalanche: Moving forward, with or without Matt Duchene It's not a question of if but when Matt Duchene will be traded, and the Avs are hanging in the balance until that happens.Duchene, who is entering his ninth season with the Avs, first became the subject of trade talks at last year’s trade deadline and they haven't ceased since.

The Avalanche are in rebuilding mode after their 48 points were 21 fewer than the next-lowest team, and at age 26 Duchene is their best trade chip in the hopes of landing a young defenseman. Here are some more things to watch as training camps open around the NHL

Even with two years left on his contract with the Colorado Avalanche , Matt Duchene 's situation is anything but simple. With his name in trade talks at the deadline and then again at the draft, Duchene went about his business playing for by far the NHL 's worst team.

FILE - In this March 23, 2017, file photo, Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene drives down the ice against the Edmonton Oilers in the first period of an NHL hockey game, in Denver. Even with two years left on his contract with the Colorado Avalanche, Matt Duchene’s situation is anything but simple. With his name in trade talks at the deadline and then again at the draft, Duchene went about his business playing for by far the NHL’s worst team. But after another offseason of general manager Joe Sakic not making a move, Duchene is unhappy in limbo and there’s uncertainty about how he’ll handle training camp.(AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)© The Associated Press FILE - In this March 23, 2017, file photo, Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene drives down the ice against the Edmonton Oilers in the first period of an NHL hockey game, in Denver. Even with two years left on his contract with the Colorado Avalanche, Matt Duchene’s situation is anything but simple. With his name in trade talks at the deadline and then again at the draft, Duchene went about his business playing for by far the NHL’s worst team. But after another offseason of general manager Joe Sakic not making a move, Duchene is unhappy in limbo and there’s uncertainty about how he’ll handle training camp.(AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

Even with two years left on his contract with the Colorado Avalanche, Matt Duchene's situation is anything but simple.

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The Avalanche are in rebuilding mode after their 48 points were 21 fewer than the next-lowest team, and at age 26 Duchene is their best trade chip in the hopes of landing a young defenseman. Here are some more things to watch as training camps open around the NHL

oard since early last season, the situation has hung over the centre and the Avalanche like a dark cloud. HockeyBuzz.com - Rick Sadowski - Duchene no-show at 1st practice. by: N/A — Hockey Buzz 6 Sep. rday, will be traded before camp opens .

With his name in trade talks at the deadline and then again at the draft, Duchene went about his business playing for by far the NHL's worst team. But after another offseason of general manager Joe Sakic not making a move, Duchene is unhappy in limbo and now training camp has arrived.

Unlike the NFL, where holdouts are commonplace, it's unprecedented in the NHL's salary-cap era for a player under contract not to report to camp, and Sakic has said he expects Duchene to be there. But it's probably the strongest leverage the $6 million center has to effect change as interest swirls from teams like the Carolina Hurricanes, Nashville Predators, Columbus Blue Jackets and two-time Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins.

"I'm not the GM, so whoever Joe and the staff decide to put on the team, I know it's going to be for the best and it's going to make us better," Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon said last week. "With Duchy, I'm not sure what the situation is exactly. I know there's trade rumors and things like that, but he's not traded as of today and he's my teammate, so getting ready for him to be on the team this season."

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Approximately 22 Avalanche players began their pre-training camp captains practices Tuesday but center Matt Duchene , who has been on the trade block throughout the summer, was among the few not in attendance. Story of Colorado Avalanche a cautionary tale for NHL teams, fans: Cox.

Matt Duchene situation hovers over Avalanche as NHL camps open . Even with two years left on his contract with the Colorado Avalanche , Matt Duchene 's situation is anything but simple.

Duchene being in Colorado's opening night lineup Oct. 5 at the New York Rangers is far from any kind of certainty. The Avalanche are in rebuilding mode after their 48 points were 21 fewer than the next-lowest team, and at age 26 Duchene is their best trade chip in the hopes of landing a young defenseman.

Here are some more things to watch as training camps open around the NHL:

TAVARES WATCH

If the New York Islanders don't sign captain John Tavares by July 1, he can be an unrestricted free agent. That's a terrifying thought for the Islanders. His situation will be a never-ending story line made complicated by the Islanders' unsettled arrangement at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The smart money is on Tavares trying to shove contract distractions aside in camp but wait to sign a big-money, eight-year contract later.

NICO AND NOLAN

New Jersey Devils No. 1 pick Nico Hischier and Philadelphia Flyers No. 2 pick Nolan Patrick will each get a good opportunity to make the NHL. Hischier's chances improved with Travis Zajac out four to six months following pectoral surgery, and the Swiss center is part of New Jersey's excitement that this may be a better year. Taylor Hall, the top pick in 2010 who could be Hischier's left winger this season, said it's up to teammates to make him as comfortable off the ice as possible so he can perform.

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Sakic needs to do something to smooth things over with Duchene . Flashback Friday: Reflecting on the 2003-04 Colorado Avalanche . Morning Flurries: The boys are back in town Rookie camp opens , Varly is ready to go and Jost is one of 10 Calder candidates to watch.

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"I think if he's comfortable there he's going to play well on the ice," Hall said. "And we need him to play well."

UNSIGNED, UNSEALED, UNDELIVERED

Six restricted free agents remain unsigned: Boston's David Pastrnak, Columbus' Josh Anderson, Colorado's Nikita Zadorov, Detroit's Andreas Athanasiou, Minnesota's Marcus Foligno and St. Louis' Petteri Lindbohm. Athanasiou's agent said Russia's Kontinental Hockey League is an option, though Pastrnak is vital to his team's success, so all eyes are on the Bruins. Jaromir Jagr and Jarome Iginla are unsigned greybeards still waiting for a call.

TRY AGAIN

Among the 60-plus players attending camp on a professional tryout agreement, Brandon Pirri in Florida, Jimmy Hayes in New Jersey, Alex Chiasson in Washington, Cody Franson in Chicago and Daniel Winnik in Minnesota have some of the best chances to earn a contract.

KARLSSON ON HOLD

Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson said last week he has no timetable to skate, let alone play, and he'll miss at least the start of camp after offseason foot surgery. As soon as Karlsson gets on the ice in Ottawa it's a significant accomplishment for a team that was the closest to knocking off the Penguins in the playoffs last spring.

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Colorado Avalanche alternate captain Matt Duchene didn’t attend the first two captain’s camps of Now might finally be the time to stop being even keel about the Duchene situation . And so that GM Joe Sakic won’t be dangling the trade over his head like the proverbial sword of Damacles anymore.

With NHL camps set to open next month, Dreger offered this assessment While reiterating that he believes Joe Sakic wants to deal Duchene and that Duchene would like a fresh start, the Avalanche has “set a very high bar” on the asking price.

OVECHKIN'S ADJUSTMENT

A salary-cap crunch brought changes for the Washington Capitals after another playoff disappointment, and star winger Alex Ovechkin isn't getting any younger. General manager Brian MacLellan challenged Ovechkin to train differently to prioritize speed over power as the captain is about to turn 32, and now it's time to see if it worked.

"It's a great message that he's sending to Mac, to the coaches, most importantly I think it's a great message he's sending to the rest of us as teammates, saying that we have to change, we have to get better and it starts with him," said teammate T.J. Oshie, who signed a $46 million, eight-year deal to stay. "Hats off to him, and I think the rest of us will have no trouble following."

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Follow Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/SWhyno

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