Ottawa Senators Deadline: Grading The Matt Duchene Trade

OTTAWA, ON - FEBRUARY 22: Columbus Blue Jackets Center Matt Duchene (95) during warm-up before National Hockey League action between the Columbus Blue Jackets and Ottawa Senators on February 22, 2019, at Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, ON, Canada. (Photo by Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

It finally happened. The Matt Duchene trade has happened. The dam has been broken and the Ottawa Senators have finally moved one of their UFA’s.

In what started as a relatively quiet morning, things picked up rather quickly. The Ottawa Senators traded forward Duchene to the Columbus Blue Jackets along with AHL defender Julius Bergman. The return included highly touted prospect Vitaly Abramov, Jonathan Davidsson, a 2019 first round pick, which is top three lottery protected, and a 2020 conditional first-round pick if Duchene re-signs with the Blue Jackets.

Clearly, a deal that was nothing to shy away from. Now that Duchene has been moved, let’s take a look at the trade as a whole for the Ottawa Senators

How the trade all started

The first bit of news broke from The Athletic’s Aaron Portzline about Abramov being pulled out of practice early on with the Cleveland Monsters. From then on, all the insiders got the latest scoop and the Duchene trade was leaving Ottawa. TSN insider Darren Dreger confirmed minutes later that the Matt Duchene trade was indeed true.

The deal developed very quickly right after that. News broke that picks were also involved as mentioned above. It was obviously a move that the Sens had to make with Matt Duchene. The return was also not terrible considering it shows that they’re embracing the rebuild.

The deal piece by piece

The Duchene trade was inevitable and it was only a matter of time until it took place. Duchene did not seem to want to be apart of the rebuild and instead wanted to go somewhere where he could win now. For a player who’s already 28, that’s completely understandable.

Sens GM Pierre Dorion knew he had to move quickly here. He might’ve delayed a bit depending on how you look at the approach he took, but he put the nail in the coffin when it was all said and done. Now, the return. Before we take a look at it, the majority of people could agree that the Sens addressed a dire need: a first round pick. Whether that pick is selection no.4 or no.31, the Sens got something a rebuilding team needs.

Evaluating the return the Ottawa Senators got:

Vitaly Abramov

Vitaly Abramov is the best piece that the Sens got in the Matt Duchene trade. The first round picks are definitely great, but the Sens made it known that the return would have to include a great prospect. But every piece in the trade relates back to one thing, the rebuild and the future of the team. All of the pieces in this trade correlate back to it and contribute to the Senators future looks.

Abramov was a third-round pick in the 2016 draft and was always highly valued among the prospect pool of the Blue Jackets. He registered 93 points in his draft year with the Gatineau Olympiques in his first season in the QMJHL. The next year, he managed to score an outstanding 104 points in 66 games played. The following two years showed nothing different as he continued to show his dominance in the Q.

He hasn’t had exactly the best start in the AHL this season with the Cleveland Monsters though. Through 52 games, Abramov has tallied 22 points for a total of ten goals and 12 assists. Considering how close the Belleville Senators are to clinching a playoff spot in the AHL, Vitaly Abramov could add to their scoring since Logan Brown and Drake Batherson were called up earlier today.

Abramov is a great prospect that the Sens got in return for their future plans. He has a lot of skills in his wheelhouse and is considered a sniper. With the proper development, Abramov could see himself become a real scoring threat in the NHL within the foreseeable future.

Jonathan Davidsson

Davidsson is considered a wildcard prospect in the Matt Duchene trade. A sixth-round pick in 2017, Davidsson has 20 points in the SHL with Djurgårdens IF at 21 years of age. The Senators wanted to really squeeze whatever they could out of this trade, and Davidsson was someone they had their eye on. 

With some of their rookies possibly jumping into the NHL next year for the Senators, Davidsson might be someone the Sens could use in the AHL. Whether that means he’s just depth player or a future roster spot player, Davidsson could be something for the Senators.

The picks

This is probably the second best piece in the trade depending on who you speak to. After using their 2018 first rounder, the Senators had no first round pick in 2019 as it was forfeited to the Colorado Avalanche from the Matt Duchene trade.

Although a first-round pick was acquired, there is lottery protection on it. If the Blue Jackets crash and burn to the point where they miss the playoffs, the 2019 first rounder is top three protected. Something that didn’t necessarily sit well with fans. But really, Pierre Dorion probably didn’t love the idea either. It was probably something that the Sens GM had to bite the bullet on.

Considering how close the Blue Jackets could be to missing the playoffs, it makes perfect sense.

The other first round pick is in 2020 and has a condition on it. If Matt Duchene decides to re-sign with Columbus, the Senators also receive the Jackets 2020 first rounder. So really, if you’re a Sens fan, you should vouch for Duchene to re-sign and for the Jackets to be bad this year, but not terrible.

In an instance where Columbus wins the lottery, Ottawa would receive their 2020 first round selection. If Matt Duchene also re-signs throughout all of that, the 2020 first round pick with the condition on it would move to 2021.

Final thoughts

As said before, this trade was only a matter of time before it became a reality. The Senators organization knew they had to pull the trigger on this matter and they did just that. Only time will tell how the trade shakes up for both teams, with a move like this Columbus is now definitely in win-now mode.

While the Senators continue going through their early rebuilding stages, the Matt Duchene trade was a swell start.

Overall grade: A-

Main Photo:

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