Updated: Oct 7, 2019
On Sunday night at about 8:15, the Nashville Predators reportedly came to a contract agreement with Free Agent Matt Duchene. It is reported that his contract is 56 million dollars over 7 years coming out to about 8 million dollars per year.
This signing comes after the Predators traded defensemen P.K. Subban to the devils last Saturday, and cleared up about 8 million dollars in cap space.
Duchene has been heavily linked with the predators leading up to free agency and his name has been in the mind of predators fans for years.
If the report of 8 million dollars per year is correct, this is a great deal, as many analysts, reporters, and myself believed that Duchene could receive a contract of 9 million dollars per year or more. Duchene is a scorer and that is what the predators have lacked for quite a long time.
At 8 million dollars per year, Duchene would become the joint highest paid player on the Predators with center Ryan Johansen.
With 31 goals and 39 assists last season, Duchene would have been the second leading scorer, 3rd leading assister, and overall point leader on the Predators with 70 points. Duchene would likely fit in as the second line center for the Predators with Ryan Johansen as the first line center.
Duchene is 5'11 195lbs and he is 28 years old. Duchene was drafted by the Avalanche in 2009 and has played for the Avalanche, the Senators, and the Blue Jackets in his 10 year career. Although he is not necessarily known for his speed, Duchene is quick and has very good puck control. Duchene is a natural scorer which is what the Preds have been lacking for a long time. Duchene is a great shooter and scores on nearly 15% of his shots. On the defensive end last season, Duchene had 50 total takeaways which is in the top tier of forwards.
With the Predators current roster as of 6/30, this is what the attacking lines could look like:
1st line: Foresberg - Johansen - Arviddson
2nd line: Granlund - Duchene - Smith
3rd line: Jarnkrok - Turris - Bonino
4th line: Grimaldi - Sissons - Watson
It is likely that fans will have very high expectations for Duchene after the Predators traded P.K. Subban in order to clear cap space for him. The Subban deal returned very little to Nashville and it seems obvious that the trade was to clear cap space for Matt Duchene. There is no telling whether the trade off will benefit the Predators long term but I feel that the Predators got a steal at 8 million dollars per year.
The Predators started free agency with about 13 million in cap room and now have about 5 million which is enough to possibly add another forward. Although I am still not happy about the Predators trading P.K. Subban, the signing of Matt Duchene softens the blow.
In other Predators free agency news, Brian Boyle will likely not be back with the Predators next year as he has drawn interests from other teams such as the Islanders. Additionaly, Poile said at the draft last Thursday that the Predators will not be resigning Cody McLeod or Wayne Simmonds.
I still see the Predators making at least 2 more trades and possibly more. I think it is likely that a Center will be moved as the Predators now have 5 centers that could start on any NHL roster. The Predators also have to resign Colton Sissons and Rocco Grimaldi, I think both will receive offers in the next week or two. In free agency, I still think the Predators will make another addition to the 3rd or 4th line by signing someone like Ryan Dzingle or Corey Perry. Although Perry has been quite the annoyance to predators fans in the past, it would be nice to seem him on our team, despite what he has done to the Predators in the past.
The signing of Matt Duchene is great and the price is a steal in my eyes. Although the Predators will need more moves to compete for the cup next year, signing Matt Duchene is a great start and makes the P.K. Subban trade look much more reasonable.
Overall I like the move but the Predators will need more in order to make a run for the cup.