For the last two weeks, all eyes have been on owner Eugene Melnyk and the Ottawa Senators and now with just three days left until the 2019 NHL Trade Deadline, the team fell into the trap that is trades and signings, dealing Matt Duchene to the Columbus Blue Jackets.
It all started on Thursday night when Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun reported that veteran right-winger Mark Stone could be snatched from the starting lineup against the New Jersey Devils.
Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet.ca was next to follow this up, reporting that there were strong indications that Ryan Dzingel and Matt Duchene would be joining him on the team’s bench for the night.
Following the game, Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet.ca reported that word was starting to get around that the Senators put Mark Stone on the market while they also made forward Ryan Dzingel available as well.
Moving onwards to Friday morning, Aaron Portzline of The Athletic Columbus reported that Blue Jackets prospect Vitaly Abramov was pulled off the ice during morning practice while also making note of the fact that he could very well be headed to Ottawa.
Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet.ca returned with more just a matter of moments later, reporting that there was indeed further traction to the report, confirming that the two sides were in fact working on a deal involving veteran centreman Matt Duchene.
This then brought Aaron Portzline back to the surface with more on Duchene, making mention of the fact that within recent days, it became known around the league that Duchene would not sign long term if in fact acquired by the Columbus Blue Jackets.
However, Portzline then added on that apparently in recent days, Duchene’s stance on a long-term contract appeared to change, adding fuel to the fire between Columbus and the Ottawa.
TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger was next to join in on the fun, reporting that Blue Jackets prospect Jonathan Davidsson would also go from Columbus to the Senators in the deal.
Adding to the speculation as two sides continued working to complete the deal, Portzline made note of the fact that it would be quite the scene if one of the Senators available players walked down the hallway to a different dressing room as the Blue Jackets get ready to take on Ottawa tonight at the Canadian Tire Centre at 7:00pmET.
Within half an hour later, Darren Dreger confirmed that the deal was done while pending further details upon the completion of club announcements respectively.
Just a moment later, Aaron Portzline reported that the deal was done as well, sending Matt Duchene from Ottawa to Columbus in exchange for Abramov as well as Daviddson. This of course would only be the start with greater details beginning to emerge.
Elliotte Friedman was next to add on that no contract extension is being discussed, however, it is expected that Ottawa will get an additional pick in the event that Duchene does indeed re-sign with the Blue Jackets.
According to Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic Toronto, in spite of this acquisition in the midst of Ottawa’s rebuild, Columbus is more than happy to keep Artemi Panarin on board unless a team really steps it up with a significant offer.
TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie than reported the missing details to bring the final pieces of the agreement together, reporting that Duchene would be headed with Julius Bergman to the Columbus Blue Jackets.
As noted by Aaron Portzline, with the acquisition of Duchene now in the books between Columbus and Ottawa, it does increase the value for Panarin as he gets ready to hit the free agent market.
Portzline continued on to say that while at this time, there is no guarantee that Panarin will be dealt ahead of the deadline, the Blue Jackets do stand in a better position to create demand among elite teams looking for an additional offensive punch.
As noted John Shannon of Sportsnet.ca, Duchene is set to play in his first game with Columbus on Friday night which is set to take place in Kanata, home of the Ottawa Senators organization.
McKenzie then continued to add the final details of the trade together, reporting that the Blue Jackets would be sending Abramov as well as Daviddson and picks the other way.
In loom of the draft picks involved, McKenzie would add on that a first rounder was included going to Ottawa, though, conditions would be in place for it which were not yet figured out and put into place.
McKenzie would then go on to make mention of all players going which way in the trade, however, he would then correct the picks involved, noting that it would be a first rounder going to Ottawa alongside a conditional first if Duchene re-signs.
McKenzie would then close in saying that ultimately the wrap of the deal would be two first-round picks as well as the two prospects in the case that Duchene stays put.
Aaron Portzline would then go onto confirm that minor-league defensemen Julius Bergman would be acquired alongside Matt Duchene to round out the trade.
As mentioned by Pierre LeBrun, the 2019 first-round pick involved in the deal is lottery protected only if it’s a top three pick.
John Shannon of Sportsnet.ca then went on to put the deal together entirely while making mention of the fact that the conditional first round pick is for the 2020 NHL Entry Draft.
Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen spoke about the deal briefly a short time later, saying that nothing has changed with the club’s approach to either keeping or trading Panarin.
He would go on to say that they’ll only move him if the offer is substantial, but separate from that move, the team is not expected to be done adding there. This in mind, a blue-liner is not out of question for the club moving forward.
Shannon would then continue on, noting that nothing has changed for the Blue Jackets organization as far as Panarin and others go. The team would only consider the possibility of trades if they receive fair market value in return.
With the picks involved going from Columbus to Ottawa as a result of the trade, Aaron Portzline of The Athletic mentions that both picks involved are significant, meanwhile, John Shannon of Sportsnet.ca notes that Ottawa would be selecting 18th with the Blue Jackets pick if the regular season season concluded today.
Aaron Portzline would also add on from a statement made by general manager Jarmo Kekalainen that it is unclear if Duchene can get his work visa updated in time to make his home debut at Nationwide Arena on Saturday night against San Jose.
While Duchene is set to wear No. 95 with the Columbus Blue Jackets, Alison Lukan of The Athletic Columbus mentions that the veteran’s addition can help strengthen the team within the centre position and their transitional play. Duchene is said to have the strongest possession exit rate of all active Columbus Blue Jackets centremen.
In taking a look at Duchene’s statistics for the 2018-19 regular season thus far, the 28-year-old native of Haliburton, Ontario has scored 27 goals to go alongside 31 assists, making for 58 points registered in 50 games played. He also adds six penalty minutes and a -2 Plus/Minus rating to his resume.
As for the entirety of his NHL career as a whole, the veteran centremen has scored 228 goals to go alongside 307 assists, making for 535 points registered in a total of 704 games played. He also adds 164 penalty minutes and a -85 Plus/Minus rating to his resume.
Duchene was originally selected by the Colorado Avalanche in the first round (3rd overall) of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft and would stick around until the second half of the 2017-18 season where he was dealt to the Ottawa Senators as part of a three-team trade involving Kyle Turris.
As for Vitaly Abramov, the 20-year-old native of Chelyabinsk, Russia has scored 12 goals to go alongside 10 assists, making for 22 points registered in 52 games played. He also adds 28 penalty minutes and a -2 Plus/Minus rating to is resume.
While Abramov has yet to appear in a regular season NHL game, he has previously spent three years playing in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Over that time span, he has recorded 129 goals to go alongside 172 assists, making for 301 points registered in a total of 185 games played. He also adds 179 penalty minutes and a 101 Plus/Minus rating to his resume.
Abramov was originally selected by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the third round (65th overall) of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. Since that time, Abramov has seen time playing with the Cleveland Monsters of the American Hockey League where he will now join the Belleville Senators as a result of Friday’s blockbuster trade.
In taking a look at Jonathan Davidsson, 21-year-old native of Tyreso, Sweden has scored 10 goals to go alongside 10 assists, making for 20 points registered in 35 games played. He also adds 16 penalty minutes and a Plus/Minus rating of 8 to his resume.
As for the entirety of his SHL career as a whole, the young right-winger has scored 23 goals to go alongside 40 assists, making for 63 points registered in a total of 152 games played. He also adds 48 penalty minutes and a 17 Plus/Minus rating to his resume.
Davidsson was originally selected by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the sixth round (170th overall) of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. Since that time, Davidsson has seen time playing with Djurgardens IF of the Swedish Hockey League where he will continue to get in work until the team is ready to start bringing him up through the minor league hockey system.
As for Julius Bergman, the 23-year-old native of Stockholm, Sweden has yet to score a goal this season, however, he has recorded 6 assists, making for 6 points registered in 33 games played. He also adds 12 penalty minutes and a -9 Plus/Minus rating to his resume.
While Bergman has yet to appear in a regular season NHL game, he has previously spent the last three years playing with the San Jose Barracudas of the American Hockey League. Over that time span, he scored 16 goals to go alongside 45 assists, making for 61 points registered in a total of 189 games played. He also adds 137 penalty minutes and a -21 Plus/Minus rating to his resume.
Bergman was originally selected by the San Jose Sharks in the second round (46th overall) of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. Since that time, Bergman has seen time playing with the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League in addition to the AHL’s San Jose Barracudas.
With this deal now set in stone following respective club announcements, the Ottawa Senators get two young prospects with plenty of potential joined by several draft picks, meanwhile, the Blue Jackets receive from Ottawa a young defensemen to go alongside an offensive centremen still full of promise.
As noted by Joel Vanderlaan of InsideAHLHockey.com, Vitali Abramov is expected to make his Belleville Senators debut tomorrow night in Rochester, meanwhile, Julius Bergman is set to join the Cleveland Monsters of the American Hockey League.
In looking at what he can bring to the Columbus Blue Jackets on the chemistry front, he will add another talented offensive centreman to go alongside players such as Cam Atkinson and Artemi Panarin as John Torterella and his team look to make their push to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
In speaking with the media via press conference before the game, Matt Duchene said he’s not sure what the future holds and that no decision has been made regarding signing or not signing with the Blue Jackets. He also mentioned that he’s not dead-set on going to July 1st either.
According to Aaron Portzline of The Athletic Columbus, Matt Duchene had an eight-year contract extension offer sitting from the Ottawa Senators, however, he opted to turn it down because of the uncertainty that lies ahead for the Senators.
When asked if his mind was made up about going to July 1st as an unrestricted free agent, Duchene said in response to the media, “I have no intentions right now. I’m just trying to get through the day. All my energy is going toward trying to help this team in the playoffs. I have no idea what I’m going to do. We’ll see. It’s totally up in the air. It’s a whole new animal now.”
Senators general manager Pierre Dorion was next to speak with the media where he opened in saying that Duchene informed them a week ago that he wanted to participate in postseason play.
In speaking about his acquisition from Colorado and what they were hoping for, Dorion said in response to the media, “When we acquired Matt in November of 2017, we had hoped his addition would drive us to another deep playoff run. Obviously that did not materialize; more than a year ago, we shifted our focus to a proper rebuild of the entire organization. Our desire was to have Matt be part of this and as such we approached him with a fair and comprehensive contract offer to remain a Senator for the long term.”
When addressing the organization’s rebuild and what role Duchene may or may not have had with it going forward, Dorion closed in saying when addressing the tedious matter, “As soon as it was determined that he did not want to be part of our rebuild, we shifted our focus to see what assets we could acquire in exchange for Matt that would help grow our pipeline of potential. We feel that both Vitaly and Jonathan, along with the first-round pick will help enhance the team’s future and fit with our continuing effort to build a younger, faster and stronger roster.”
In speaking about the deal from a greater length on the Blue Jackets end, general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said when briefly addressing Duchene’s acquisition, “We have accepted the risk that could be just a rental.”
According to John Shannon of Sportsnet.ca, Matt Duchene successfully completed an updated version of his immigration papers which will allow him to travel with the team and make his home debut on Saturday night at Nationwide Arena in Columbus.
Following the conclusion of their game against the Ottawa Senators on Friday night, the Columbus Blue Jackets will return to action on Saturday night at Nationwide Arena as they play host to the San Jose Sharks at 5:00pmET. The game can be seen on Fox Sports Ohio, meanwhile, it can be heard on 97.1 FM.