NHL Week in Review (November 5-11)

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It was one of the top stories as the season began with a star wanting out of the only place he had ever played.

Matt Duchene had a dream come true when he was drafted by the Colorado Avalanche, not only was he now an official NHL player he was playing for his favourite team.

Growing up he idolised Joe Sakic and when he was drafted his first phone call as an NHL player was with his hero.

He was a big part of what was supposed to be the rebuild in Colorado after they had struggled to recreate the great seasons from the beginning of the 2000s.

Duchene was one of the first major pieces to that rebuild and was a chance for the team to move on from their veteran base and into a new era.

He was there for some bad years but things started to change as they made the playoffs in 2014 and looked like a team on the rise.

The years after that playoff appearance were nowhere close to being great though as they fell apart right after and their future is not very bright.

Duchene was about to start his 9th NHL season and had never really been on a team that could threaten for a title.

This year was not looking like one where that was going to change and for Duchene that meant it was time to move on.

Last season, Duchene had expressed some desire to leave Colorado and in the off-season, he made it clear that he wanted out.

The trade was on the table last season as the rumours swirled but the asking price was simply too high for anyone to pull the trigger.

When Duchene made it clear that he wanted out in the off-season more teams called but Sakic and the organization refused to back down.

They were still looking for a trade but were not going to take anything less than what they wanted for Duchene.

For the Avalanche, desperation had not set in as they had a decent season going and Duchene was a key part of their team.

If he wanted out they would let him go but they weren’t going to get worse for trading away a key piece to their team.

For those on the outside, it wasn’t the best strategy as they believed he would never be traded unless the Avalanche could reduce their asking price.

It seemed to be the hill that Sakic was willing to die on as he was not backing down and a failure to trade Duchene was likely going to be the last straw as an executive.

Without a trade, the Sakic era 2.0 in Colorado was probably going to end as a disgruntled player is not something that any team wants.

This week the end to the drama that has been going on for the better part of a year was finally here when the Avs officially moved Duchene.hockey-sidebar

It almost didn’t happen as the trade reportedly fell apart a week earlier just when it was almost there.

They did finish it off though as the Avs worked out a three-team deal with Nashville and Ottawa.

Duchene was headed to Ottawa while Kyle Turris, another player struggling with contract talks, was sent to Nashville.

Headed to Colorado were Vladislav Kamenev, Samuel Girard, Shane Bowers, Andrew Hammond and a number of draft picks from both teams.

The trade might be debated throughout the rest of the season as it is a large one to unpack.

For Nashville, they immediately got better adding another great centreman to the team that is playing right away.

Meanwhile, Ottawa got a dynamic playmaker in Duchene who can really change this offence for the better.

In Colorado, the initial return won’t be great as they didn’t get anyone that is going to make a difference right now.

Instead, they looked to the future take a number of promising prospects like Kamenev and Bowers.

They also receive a load of future picks that can be used to build the future of this team, although the issue now is the track record of recent picks for the Avs.

Initially, this is a loss for the Avalanche while it is a win for both Nashville and Ottawa but this trade could be one of those that is better in hindsight.

In the next few years, this might make Colorado better and the trade could be the turning point but there is a lot of “what ifs” in the trade.

If everything pans out and the Avs get a good group of draft picks while their prospects pan out this trade could have laid the groundwork for a bright future.

It was the end of a long saga and will likely be one of the biggest trades of the year but for Duchene, it was a chance to restart and hopefully begin playing meaningful games late in the season.



Shipachyov Back to Russia

The Vegas Golden Knights found an end to their own saga this week as they continued to try to deal Vadim Shipachyov. The Russian was one of the first players signed by the Knights but has spent the entire season in the AHL. He wanted out of the Knights organization after coming from the KHL to play in the NHL and never stepping foot in the league. That came to an end this week when Shipachyov signed with SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL taking himself out of the NHL.

A New Class

 This week marked another Hall of Fame Class and one that seemed a little more special than most with one player taking a lot of the attention. Paul Kariya entered the Hall of fame this week and entered the public eye for the first time since he retired. Kariya had been somewhat forced out of the league after concussions hurt his play. All eyes were on Kariya this week as he entered the Hall alongside longtime partner Teemu Selanne as well as Mark Recchi and Dave Andreychuk.

Travelling Abroad

Just as the biggest trade of the year was announced both Ottawa and Colorado were on their way to Sweden. The two teams with Swedish stars were getting set for a two-game series in Sweden as a part of the NHL’s international games. The league had already travelled to China for the pre-season and then headed to the heart of hockey country, Europe. It seems like the Swedish games are just the start for the league as they ramp up their international standing with what seems like more games in the future.

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