- Bovada lists the Nashville Predators as the favorites to sign free-agent forward Matt Duchene
- The Preds are the prohibitive -325 chalk to ink the nine-time 20-goal scorer
- Nashville cleared salary cap space at the draft by trading PK Subban to New Jersey
Was PK Subban’s departure designed to smooth a path for Matt Duchene’s arrival in Nashville?
According to Bovada, it won’t be long after free-agent forward Duchene hits the open market on July 1st that the Predators swoop in to sign the former Avalanche/Senator/Blue Jacket. The sportsbook lists Nashville as the odds-on favorite to get Duchene’s name on a contract at a hyper-shot -325.
Where Will Matt Duchene Play Game 1 of the 2019-20 NHL Season?
|Team||Matt Duchene’s 2019-20 NHL Team Odds at Bovada|
|Columbus Blue Jackets||+800|
|New York Rangers||+1600|
*Odds taken on 06/27/19.
Duchene began his career with the Colorado Avalanche. After 8.5 seasons in Denver, he spent time with the Ottawa Senators and finished last season with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Cap Space Cleared
By moving Subban in a deal with the New Jersey Devils at the NHL entry draft, the Predators cleared out significant salary-cap space to allow them to make a move for a forward. Subban earns $9 million a season.
Of all the unrestricted free agent forwards, Duchene is the guy that Nashville has in mind.
Star UFA C Matt Duchene expected to visit the Predators in Nashville on Thursday.
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) June 27, 2019
Duchene met with the Montreal Canadiens and the Predators this week to talk about his future. He scored 31 goals during a 2018-19 season split between the Senators and Blue Jackets.
As good as the Predators are, they’re still starved for goals. Though Nashville topped the Central Division with a 47-29-6 record, the Preds scored just 240 goals. That was eighth-best in the Western Conference and 19th overall in the NHL.
Of note on free agent Matt Duchene, who met with the #habs yesterday. He's an Ontario kid with deep roots to the team. In late April, he said: "My family is all French Canadian and we grew up with the Habs. When I was a young kid, my Dad and my Grandpa loved the Habs."
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) June 27, 2019
Viktor Arvidsson (34), Filip Forsberg (28) and Craig Smith (21) were the only forwards to score more than 17 goals last season.
It Almost Happened Once Before
Duchene and the Predators were involved in a deal early into the 2017-18 season. It was a three-way deal. The keys in the deal saw Duchene go from the Colorado to Ottawa. Samuel Girard left Nashville for Colorado and Kyle Turris went from Ottawa to Nashville.
At the time, it was reported that the original discussion was Duchene from the Avs to the Preds, but Nashville GM David Poile wasn’t willing to meet the demands of Joe Sakic, his Colorado counterpart.
Now Duchene Is Free
A Stanley Cup finalist in 2017, Nashville seems to have fallen off the radar as a legitimate 2020 Stanley Cup contender after successive poor playoff showing the past two springs.
This summer, the Predators can get Duchene without any cost in personnel.
Matt Duchene is one of the top forwards available in this year's free agent class. The podcast panel debates where he will land next season. pic.twitter.com/3X4f1r2OlP
— The Hockey News (@TheHockeyNews) June 27, 2019
Of all the teams that are seen as realistic suitors for him, Nashville offers the best combination of opportunity to play a key role and also opportunity to get his name on the Stanley Cup.
Unless that’s something that doesn’t interest him, expect Duchene to be a Predator not long after July 1.
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