After Ottawa held its three best forwards and top trade chips out of Thursday’s 4-0 loss to the New Jersey Devils, at least one of those assets is on the move.
Forward Matt Duchene has been traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets, according to multiple reports.
Confirming Matt Duchene has been traded to Columbus. Details to come.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) February 22, 2019
Duchene, along with minor league defenceman Julius Bergman, will head to Columbus in exchange for prospects Vitaly Abramov and Jonathan Davidsson, as well as a first-round pick and a conditional first-rounder if Duchene ends up re-signing with the Blue Jackets, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie.
Despite reports to the contrary, the Athletic’s Aaron Portzline noted that Duchene’s stance has “changed in recent days” and he is open to the possibility of signing a long-term deal in Columbus.
The Blue Jackets are actually in Ottawa right now as they’re set to face off against the Senators Friday, adding a bit of juice to this whole situation. John Shannon is reporting that Duchene will indeed suit up for the Blue Jackets against his now-former squad just hours after after being flipped.
Matt Duchene will play his first game for CBJ against the Senators tonight.
— John Shannon (@JSportsnet) February 22, 2019
According to Shannon, this move won’t have any effect on Columbus’ potential dealings of Artemi Panarin, Sergei Bobrovsky and others, as the Blue Jackets will “only consider trades if they receive fair market value in return.”
The skilled forward and Vezina-winning goaltender, both pending unrestricted free agents, are considered two of the top pieces available ahead of Monday’s 3PM EST trade deadline.
This recent move to acquire Duchene, however, appears to signal that the Blue Jackets are going “all-in” and poised to make a postseason run this spring — meaning the team will likely lean towards keeping their assets unless a sock-knocking offer comes along.
Abramov, a 20-year-old winger, has 12 goals and 22 points and 52 games with Cleveland in the AHL this season. The 21-year-old Davidsson, also a winger, has posted 10 goals and 20 points in 35 games with Jurgardens of the Swedish league.
Duchene, meanwhile, has 27 goals and 58 points with the Senators this season.
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