Matt Duchene Traded to Columbus Blue Jackets

The first trade deadline domino has fallen.

The Ottawa Senators have completed their first of many expected major moves this week, trading centre Matt Duchene to the Columbus Blue Jackets. In return, the Sens receive Vitali Abramov, Jonathan Davidsson, a first round picks and a conditional pick while also sending Julius Bergman to Columbus.

Duchene was originally acquired by Ottawa in November of 2017 in a blockbuster three-way trade, just months after the Sens had their spectacular run to the Eastern Conference Finals. With Kyle Turris sent packing to Nashville through the trade, Duchene served as an upgrade to Ottawa’s first line centre, at a hefty price that included Shane Bowers and this year’s first round pick.

His first few weeks in Ottawa didn’t go quite as planned after leaving the at-the-time tumultuous Colorado Avalanche. The Senators plummeted to the league’s basement, and then traded franchise defenceman Erik Karlsson in the off-season. Now the Sens are 31st in the NHL this season, with Duchene wanting to find a winning team after only playing only eight playoff games over his entire career.

Ottawa’s lack of success can’t be blamed on Duchene, however, as he’s continued to dazzle as one of the NHL’s elite forwards. Over his 118 games as a Senators, he’s scored 50 goals and 107 points, while ranking second in goals and assists on the team this season behind Mark Stone.

Duchene is on the final year of his five-year contract with a cap hit of $6 million. The Senators were unsuccessful in trying to extend him, hence why they’ve pivoted to a trade. The rumoured offer was around eight years, with a cap hit of $8 million. It appears the Blue Jackets are acquiring him as a rental, as Duchene still has the choice to hit the open market on July 1st.

Returning to Ottawa are a couple of prospects in Vitali Abramov and Jonathan Davidsson. Abramov was a 3rd round pick by the Blue Jackets in 2016, and has since torn up the QMJHL with the local Gatineau Olympiques. He won the league scoring race in 2016-17, then went back to junior for another stellar year. Now a rookie pro, the 20-year-old winger has twelve goals and 22 points in 52 games. He’s also the first Russian in the Sens organization since Sergei Gonchar in 2013.

Jonathan Davidsson is also a winger, and at 21 years old, he is playing in Sweden with Djurgårdens IF — the same Swedish team of current Senators Tobias Lindberg and Andreas Englund. Drafted by Columbus in the 6th round in 2017, he currently has 20 points in 35 games, which is 5th in the SHL amongst players age 22 and younger.

The only other player in the deal is Julius Bergman, heading from Ottawa to Columbus. It was announced recently that Bergman intends this to be his final season in North America, before heading back to Sweden next season.

The two picks Ottawa receives are a 1st round pick in 2019, and a conditional 1st round pick in 2020, with the condition being whether Duchene re-signs with Columbus. The 2019 pick is also protected if it ends up being a top three pick.

The Blue Jackets are in Ottawa today to play the Senators at 7:00 p.m., and Duchene is expected to be in Columbus’ lineup.

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