Matt Duchene has been traded, but not to the New York Islanders. The Ottawa Senators centre was sent to the Columbus Blue Jackets in a four-piece swap. How could the Islanders have made that work?
One target that New York Islanders fans wanted at the trade deadline was Ottawa Senators centre, Matt Duchene. It’s clear why, with his over a point per game pace, his ability to produce on the power play and his incredible skill in the faceoff circle.
But three days from the actual trade deadline, Matt Duchene was traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets for two picks and two prospects.
The Senators were able to pull Vitallii Abramov, Jonathan Davidsson, a 2019 first round pick, and a 2020 first round pick (conditional) from the Blue Jackets. If we take that trade package and use New York Islanders prospects whats a comparable offer, and should the Isles have made it?
Vitalii Abramov is a former third-round pick from 2016 with incredible CHL numbers. If not for his 5’9″ frame he probably would have been taken much earlier in the draft. He’s got 22 points in 52 games in his first full season in the AHL in 2018-19.
The closest comparable for the Islanders is Kieffer Bellows. A player drafted in the same year (though two rounds earlier) playing his first season in the AHL with a similar production level (16 points in 54 games).
Again, Abramov probably should have gone much earlier in the draft if not for his size. In 185 career games in the QMJHL he scored 301 points.
Jonathan Davidsson is a former sixth-round pick in 2016. The right shot winger has 20 points in the Swedish league this season. A comparable player within the Islanders system is Nick Pastujov.
Pastujov is a seventh-round pick from the same draft class as Davidsson. The forward playing with Michigan University has 20 points in 30 games in the NCAA. It’s similar production with a similar calibre of competition.
Now add a first round pick in 2019, and a conditional first round pick in 2020 and you have the Matt Duchene deal from a New York Islanders perspective. The question now is; do you do it?
Make the Deal?
Seeing Kieffer Bellows go is tough, but if Matt Duchene is coming the other way it makes the loss much easier to take. As we know though, the deal wasn’t just two prospects. The Senators also got two conditional first-round picks in 2019 and in 2020.
The conditions on the picks are:
-If the 2019 pick becomes a top three pick it moves two 2020;
-If Duchene re-signs with Columbus Ottawa gets a 2020 first round pick;
-If the 2019 pick moves to 2020 and Duchene re-signs, Ottawa gets CBJ’s first in 2021.
With Duchene added to their ranks it’s clear the Blue Jackets are gunning for the playoffs this season, and might just make it. At the time of writing Carolina is ahead by a point, but Columbus has a game in hand. That 2019 first-rounder is going to slot somewhere at the top half of the draft, just like it will for the Islanders. But that 2020 first rounder is dripping in potential value.
Even if Duchene stays with the Blue Jackets beyond July 1, Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky are all but guaranteed to be out the door this summer. That’s a huge talent vacuum for the Blue Jackets. There’s a legitimate doubt that Columbus can make the postseason without them in 2019-20, making that 2020 first-round pick a good one for the Senators.
For the Islanders, the question of making the 2020 playoffs isn’t such a question. They’ll be able to keep virtually the exact same team.
How could they make up that value to close the deal? Another high-level prospect? I could see Lou baulking at three prospects (Bellows, Pastujov, and another top prospect) and a first round pick in 2019 for a minimum of a few months of Matt Duchene.
I know Duchene has said all of the right things leading up to his trade to the Blue Jackets. But I can see him testing free agency and giving himself the ability to chose his destination. Four pieces is to rich for my blood.
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The New York Islanders lost out on a trade target that a number of fans have been calling out for for a number of years. And the Duchene deal likely means that Panarin stays put too. That’s two of the trade deadline big three accounted for, meaning Lou has to set his sights on Mark Stone.