The great irony, perhaps the cruelest irony or all, with regard to the the 2017-18 Ottawa Senators season is that the team went all in on trading for former Colorado Avalanche sniper Matt Duchene as a “final piece” to their playoff puzzle.
“[The Senators] have a team that can win a Stanley Cup. I’m really excited to go there and just nothing but a pleasure to have played here for Colorado,” said Duchene at the time of the deal.
Of course, the Sens would struggle throughout the season and it would take Duchene 20 games or so to hit his stride with his new club. By the end of the season the Sens were a bottom five team and the pieces that Sens general manager Pierre Dorion had shipped out to acquire Duchene could come back to bite the team in the rear end.
The Sens shipped center Kyle Turris, goaltender Andrew Hammond, prospect Shane Bowers, a 1st round pick and a 3rd round pick in a three way trade with the Avs and the Nashville Predators in order to acquire Duchene. Now, Duchene is just 10 months from leaving the team via free agency… ouch.
Duchene addressed his contract situation yesterday and admitted that it’s not something he’s really even thinking about heading into the 2018-19 season. “I haven’t even thought about it,” said Duchene to the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch earlier this week.
“I’ve got a year on my deal and I honestly don’t worry about it right now. I’ve had a good summer. I feel good and I’m ready for opening night now. I can’t wait to get going.”
Hmmm… if that doesn’t inspire confidence that he’ll re-sign, this next quote may help calm Sens’ fan’s fears:
“I’d love for it to work,” Duchene said. “It’s my home province, it’s a Canadian city, three hours from home for me and it’d be awesome if things could work out for sure.”
That’s a pretty big “IF”…
Duchene also took time to address the giant elephant in the room. The weird drama that played out between the wives of captain Erik Karlsson and former Sens sniper Mike Hoffman, the latter of whom Duchene seemed to develop real chemistry with in 2017-18.
“We’ve just got to forget about it,” Duchene said. “It doesn’t matter. It’s over. We have to learn from it obviously. We’ll have a better culture in the locker room this year and it starts with the older guys leading the way.”
When asked how big of an impact the controversy had in the team’s locker room, Duchene downplayed the matter. “Honestly probably not as much as you would think,” he said. “Last year got away from us for a lot of reasons and … looking to right the ship.”