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New York Islanders: Making Matt Duchene Fit Into Lineup

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 6: Matt Duchene #95 of the Ottawa Senators gets set for a faceoff against the Toronto Maple Leafs during an NHL game at Scotiabank Arena on October 6, 2018 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Senators defeated the Maple Leafs 5-3.(Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 6: Matt Duchene #95 of the Ottawa Senators gets set for a faceoff against the Toronto Maple Leafs during an NHL game at Scotiabank Arena on October 6, 2018 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Senators defeated the Maple Leafs 5-3.(Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
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The New York Islanders have expressed interest in Matt Duchene. With Brock Nelson, Mathew Barzal, Val Filppula, and Casey Cizikas on the roster how does he fit?

It feels like the New York Islanders have been attempting to bring in Matt Duchene forever. Well, that’s because, for parts of the last three seasons, the Isles have in fact been looking to acquire Duchene.

Two trade deadlines ago, it appeared that Colorado was interested in trading Matt Duchene. The issue was the Joe Sakic, the Avalanche’s General Manager, wanted Mathew Barzal from the New York Islanders.

The trade never went through, but oddly enough Matt Duchene did get traded while playing at the Barclays Center in November of 2017. He was sent to Ottawa and now it appears that Ottawa is flipping him before he is set to hit free agency in July.

Again, the Islanders are linked to his name as the 2019 trade deadline approaches. This time things are different. Mat Barzal’s name won’t be on the list of assets going Ottawa’s way, instead, Duchene would be brought in to add depth to the Islanders top-six which will include Mat Barzal.

I won’t go into putting together an entire trade proposal, instead, I want to focus on how Matt Duchene would fit into the Islanders lineup. As is, the Isles already have four centers who wouldn’t go anywhere in the trade.

Brock Nelson, Mathew Barzal, Val Filppula, and Casey Cizikas make up the Isles center group and that’s before the trade for Matt Duchene. If you add him to the mix, things begin to get interesting.

Fitting Matt Duchene

You’re not going to trade for Duchene and then put him on the wing. If anything, Brock Nelson is the best candidate to go from center to wing. He’s played on the wing in the past and had success in years gone by.

Nelson saw success playing on John Tavares’ wing so there’s no reason he couldn’t find that goal-scoring knack alongside either Duchene or Barzal. Perhaps the lines could look something like this:

Lee – Duchene – Bailey

Nelson – Barzal – Eberle

Ladd – Filppula – Komarov

Martin – Cizikas – Clutterbuck

Yes, this lineup doesn’t include Anthony Beauvillier. Beau could either be used in the trade to acquire Duchene or sent to the scratch pad or the AHL. The reason for that is his inconsistency in production. He has just five points in the last 20 games. That’s not going to cut it on a team looking to compete in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

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Regardless, this top-six looks miles better than how it’s currently constructed (Tom Kuhnhackl is playing with Mat Barzal). Duchene, who has 56 points in 49 games, would be the perfect addition to the Isles forward group.

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