Lunch Special: What’s Matt Duchene’s future with the Avalanche?

Michel CooperLast Update : Tuesday 18 July 2017 - 6:10 PM
Lunch Special: What’s Matt Duchene’s future with the Avalanche?

The Denver Post’s Mike Chambers answered questions from readers about the Colorado Avalanche and DU Pioneers hockey team Tuesday. Here are some highlights:

Any word on what the future of Matt Duchene is going to be? Great talent, but I don’t know if his heart is with the Avs anymore.

Mike: Tough call. As I’ve often said since March 1, I believe the marriage is over between No. 9 and the Avs. But since he’s still on the market, I’m starting to think he could begin the season in Colorado. Depends on if the Avs truly believe they can go with the youngsters on D. Only three D signed right now, with Zadorov negotiations ongoing. Duchene could still bring in a top-four D.

How does the Avs roster look this year? Are we strong enough to climb out of the basement?

Mike: It looks a lot younger and very inexperienced. The Avs generally replaced a handful of 30-somethings (plus Grigorenko) with kids in their entry-level contracts. The rebuild looks like a patient one. But a Duchene trade could change that …

Prediction? They had 48 points last season. Maybe they can get 60 next season. They will be quicker.

What’s the latest on Will Butcher and the Avs?

Mike: I expect news on Will Butcher in the coming week(s). I suspect he’s going to go UFA next month, instead of signing his ELC with the Avs. Butcher doesn’t want to negotiate through the media and I respect that. But I do believe he’ll take my calls soon and make his decision public.

Any news on the Nikita Zadorov situation. Time is starting to get a little tight.

Mike: He reportedly (second-hand, not confirmed) said he’s agreed to terms with a KHL team but prefers to sign a two-year bridge deal with COL. In other words, he’s using the KHL as a bargaining chip to get more cash from his bridge. I don’t suspect Zadorov will play in the KHL next season. Sakic must sign this guy and he has the money. They’ll come to terms; he’s not arbitration eligible I’m told.

Without a change of leadership in the front office or a coaching change, what hope should Avs fans have for a meaningful turn around? This roster looks like over valued players that never took that last step and the front office looks like the Bluejackets West 2.0.

Mike: Good question. My answer: I’m glad I’m not a ticket salesman for this team. What is there to pitch?

Where do you see Nail Yakupov fitting in the lineup this season?

Mike: Yakupov will get a look anywhere in the top nine. We will just have to wait and see. I actually like that signing. Inexpensive talent and maybe the guy just needs another chance.

What do you think of Semyon Varlamov being able to get back to his old form? Are they doing his rehab and different this time?

Mike: We don’t know the ins and outs of Varlamov’s rehab. He had surgeries this time so it’s probably a little different than treating the problem without surgery. Sure, he can return to greatness if he’s healthy. He’s only 29 and still has the God-given tools. But, geez, he sure wasn’t in need of expansion-draft protection!


Find the full chat transcript below:

I’m being told to wrap this up, folks. Appreciate the conversation. Thanks for taking part and reading your local newspaper. Keep your stick on the ice! — MikeRe: Butcher, has all the elite skills you can’t really teach. And he never turns the puck over coming out of the zone. Reminds me of Paul Stastny in the sense that, when he was at DU they said he didn’t have the wheels to play in the show. Different position, obviously, but Butcher’s skating might be good enough for the NHL. Everything else he has is rock-solid (albeit he’s undersized).Honest eval of Butcher at NHL level. I doubt he’s NHL ready for at least another year and yes, a FANTASTIC college player. NHL is different. Is he really top four some day? Seems there is a fair amount of risk for whoever signs him.I’m with ya, DanK … Sakic wanted to get younger. Grigorenko, 23, wasn’t part of that plan. Had a tough season but from what saw he wasn’t a distraction. I would have resigned him as RFA and just not expect as much of him next season. A two-way deal allows him to grow in the minors. Letting him go for nothing doesn’t make sense to me.Any word on why the Avs let Grigs walk? Seemed to be young enough to not give up yet – and it’s not like the Avs are brimming with other talentDuchene, Duchene, Duchene. Or another core forward. A major trade will bring in a top-four D. Banking on Mironov, Bigras or Siemens to play that role seems mighty dreamy.The Avs defence is going to be terrible again this year. Anyway they can help reinforce it a little bit?Lake Erie’s staff did move with the players to San Antonio, but there has been coaching changes since. You nailed it in saying there’s just enough young talent to give fans hope. But there’s certainly not enough to provide playoff hope. It’s a trickle-down thing; San Antonio might be awful next season because its best players are being rushed into the NHL with CO.We’re beyond an hour in this chat but I’ll take a couple more. We still have a bunch of people on. Thanks for that.with the change to San Antonio, did the staff move with the rosters from Lake Erie? The Avs are becoming like the Rockies, just enough talent to give hope, virtually hopeless at drafting and developing talent. Without a change in scouting and development, a youth movement is just a way to explain away bad roster development and a bad team.Cody, this team finished with club-record low 48 points and the slow rebuild is only harming ticket sales for next season. If I’m the owner, I’m demanding major change so people can get excited about the future. One thing might be slowing the process: Sakic has made so many mistakes, he might now be afraid to make the necessary moves. That’s just a thought.Why can’t Sakic be more aggressive with the rebuild? Look at what the Dallas Stars did with their roster. Shouldn’t we at least try to do more? Why keep so many players who haven’t been effective or consistent? Why not make some trades and start over? It seems weird that a historically bad team has changed so little of its core…You and me both, my man. Vegas would not have taken Blake Comeau or Semyon Varlamov. I was surprised the Avs went the 7-3-1 route instead of the 8/1. Also surprised about the Beauchemin buyout heading into the thing. First, they never asked Beauchemin to waive his NMC and then they buy him out instead of making him 5-6-7 player/coach. I know the guy. He would have been good in that support role. But instead, the Avs pay him to NOT play hockey and keep his $4.5M cap hit on the books.I was a bit surprised that the Avs protected Blake Como in the expansion draft, do you think they see him as a part of the solution or was it just that there was nobody else worth protecting?Rantanen led the Avs with 20 goals last season and I would suspect he’ll be close to 30 next year if he’s healthy. Jost will get 20 as a rookie. Awesome prospect there. Compher? Not sure he’ll ever be a big scorer in this league. Led the NCAA couple years ago in helpers so we know he can make plays.What are your projections G+A for Rantanen, Compher and Jost?Calvin Pickard will be missed. Not saying Jonathan Bernier isn’t a good goalie, but Pickard was an ideal No. 1A. Perhaps the best teammate in the room and off-the-charts compete level. He had time for anyone, on and off the ice. Excellent practice goalie and good friend to all.will the avs feel the loss of calvin pickard?No, not that I’m aware of. I would suggest tweeting to @capfriendly, my heroes. They do great work and have all the answers. But in terms of making Butcher feel unwelcome, that’s on the team. Butcher was thinking UFA all last spring and summer until COL came back at him after Roy’s departure.Going back to Butcher for a second, is there nothing the Avs can do to get any sort of value out of the pick?It’s not just MacKinnon. It’s Landeskog, Duchene, Johnson, Barrie, even goaltending with Varlamov. They all need to rebound. They’re capable. But perhaps the chemistry just isn’t there with these players. Chemistry might be overlooked when talking about the Avs’ core. As MacKinnon said early last season, they just don’t have chemistry.Do you think Nathan MacKinnon will rebound and be the player we thought we drafted? He has to be more consistant game in and game out which has been his problem…Makar and Timmins are the type of draft-eligible D the Avs should have sought over the last 10 years. Previous 10 years, only two first-round D selected (Shattenkirk, Siemens). This year: No. 4 and No. 32. Finally, this franchise realized you have to draft elite D because they’re too darn hard to acquire in trades and free agency.As a side note, teams keep 14 forwards and 7 D, or 13/8.What are your impressions of Cale Makar and Conor Timmins?Avs have 12 forwards not named Greer signed plus RFA Matt Nieto. I suspect Greer will split his time between COL and San Antonio. Bright future.Any thoughts on AJ Greer being on the team this year and what his role might be?Does Greer make the lineup as is? If not, does he fit in if Duchene is trader for a D and prospects/picks?Does AJ Greer make the team in its current shape? Or does a Duchene trade open up his spot down the road?We don’t know the ins and outs of Varlamov’s rehab. He had surgeries this time so it’s probably a little different than treating the problem without surgery. Sure, he can return to greatness if he’s healthy. He’s only 29 and still has the God-given tools. But, geez, he sure wasn’t in need of expansion-draft protection!What do you think of Varly being able to get back to his old form? Are they doing his rehab and different this time?Josh Kroenke told the DP Joe Sakic is not on a short leash because he’s Joe Sakic. The owner will give the GM every chance to turn this around, and judging by the patient way the GM is going about it, the owner supports the slow rebuild and Sakic isn’t going anywhere. As for Bednar, yeah, he’ll be the first to go.Are Sakic and Bednar on a short leash? I mean Dave Tippet is waiting by his phone. This team is just not managed well starting from the top.AvsFanForLife: I got nothing for you, brother. You get it. What you wrote is dead on. Will Jost, Greer, Rocco Grimaldi and the ELC D spark this team to 40 more points? No.Let’s be honest here… We basically slept thru free agency. We have 3 D signed with 2 mos before pre-season games, Nail Y? seriously? 1 more D-man for Duchene is gonna help? Bernier for Pickard??Forwards who won’t shoot, and when they do, it’s high, wide, or in the goalie’s breadbasket. Nothing has changed! Is there ANY reason to think we won’t be dead last again? Seriously – Give me something to grasp onto here…Um, no. Too young. And his confidence comes and goes. You don’t want to put more pressure on him. MacKinnon just needs to get himself ready to play.The Avs should make MacKinnon the captain of the team, he is the face of the franchise, what are your thoughts?Yakupov will get a look anywhere in the top nine. We will just have to wait and see. I actually like that signing. Inexpensive talent and maybe the guy just needs another chance.Where do you see Nail Yakupov fitting in the lineup this season?65 points, can you believe we’re doubting that? But I’m with you. The youth movement is somewhat exciting but the growing pains will be too much. This slow rebuild will be painful.Help me see a scenario where this team scores more than 65 points this season?Siemens situation is cloudy. Do you keep him in COL as a 5-6-7-8 guy or in top-pairing in San Antonio. I really don’t know. We’ll know more when we see his contract.What do you think the chances are that Siemens makes the roster this season given the new young d-liners like Mironov?Argusdubbs: Right now it’s Johnson, Barrie, Barbario, Zadorov (if signed), Mironov, Bigras (or Lindholm, Meloche, Boikov)And, hey, if you want to watch really good, winning hockey, spend your money at Magness Arena. Could be the best DU team I’ve ever covered next season. Massive talent and depth.Speaking of D, who do you think will start out the year in the Avs top 6? ( assuming no further acquisitions and that the Zadorov deal goes through).Pios already named their captains, and they saved Gambrell an A. Tariq Hammond will have the C.Thanks Mike, absolutely agree. Dutchy is a class act, and a constant pro. It’s a shame he had to go through this process.

What are your thoughts on Gambrell as C for the Pios?Landeskog will be fine. He’s 24 now and mature beyond his years. Perhaps he was over his head a couple years ago, but not now.What about Landy? Can he lead a team that is starting the season with so much discord?corallycup: Good question. My answer: I’m glad I’m not a ticket salesman for this team. What is there to pitch?Also on Zadorov: Sakic signed Barrie a couple years ago as an RFA just after his golf tourney in August. Things will happen in next month.without a change of leadership in the front office or a coaching change, what hope should avs fans have for a meaningful turn around? This roster looks like over valued players that never took that last step and the front office looks like the Bluejackets West/2.0Zadorov: He reportedly (second-hand, not confirmed) said he’s agreed to terms with a KHL team but prefers to sign a two-year bridge deal with COL. In other words, he’s using the KHL as a bargaining chip to get more cash from his bridge. I don’t suspect Zadorov will play in the KHL next season. Sakic must sign this guy and he has the money. They’ll come to terms; he’s not arbitration eligible I’m told.On a side note to Butcher, I think the Blackhawks will try to sign him next month, if he goes UFA. He’s the type of D Chicago covets.Zadorov update?What’s the status of Zads?Also, what are you thinking about Zad playing in Denver next year?Any news on the Nikita Zadorov situation. Time is starting to get a little tight.I expect news on Will Butcher in the coming week(s). I suspect he’s going to go UFA next month, instead of signing his ELC with the Avs. Butcher doesn’t want to negotiate through the media and I respect that. But I do believe he’ll take my calls soon and make his decision public.Prediction? They had 48 points last season. Maybe they can get 60 next season. They will be quicker.What’s the latest on Butcher?What’s the latest on Will Butcher and the Avs?It looks a lot younger and very inexperienced. The Avs generally replaced a handful of 30-somethings (plus Grigorenko) with kids in their entry-level contracts. The rebuild looks like a patient one. But a Duchene trade could change that …With the current avs roster. Where do you honestly seem them finishing?How does the Avs roster look this year? Are we strong enough to climb out of the basement?James, please see my first comment. We still believe Duchene could be traded. If not, I think the team will take him back, no problem. Despite some public opinion, Duchene is a great teammate, great pro.In the three D signed, I mean the proven NHLers. Plus Mironov, Bigras, Lindholm etc.Since Joe has elected not to trade Dutchy, what kind of therapy is he going to have the team go through to seem like an actual team, particularly in light of the fact that Duchene is so integral to the team’s success.Tough call. As I’ve often said since March 1, I believe the marriage is over between No. 9 and the Avs. But since he’s still on the market, I’m starting to think he could begin the season in Colorado. Depends on if the Avs truly believe they can go with the youngsters on D. Only three D signed right now, with Zadorov negotiations ongoing. Duchene could still bring in a top-four D.Any word on what the future of Matt Duchene is going to be? Great talent, but I don’t know if his heart is with the Avs anymore.Hey everyone. Looks like we have nearly 30 people watching so far. Looking forward to your questions. It’s good to get back into hockey. After July 1 free agency I went boating for two weeks. But I have done some homework and glad to be on today’s chat.

Alright, welcome to another Lunch Special live chat! We’ve got Mike Chambers here today to answer your hockey questions — Avs or DU hockey. Submit your questions, and we’ll get started around noon.

Source: denverpost

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