It was not too long ago that the Senators were reportedly making “healthy progress” towards a new contract extension with Kyle Turris.
It’s funny how things can change in a matter of weeks.
Late last night, news broke that trade talks involving Ottawa Senators and Kyle Turris were very real and at one point, were close to coming to fruition.
According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, the Senators had attempted to orchestrate a three-way trade involving the Colorado Avalance and the Nashville Predators.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman followed up Dreger’s tweet by elaborating on the parameters of the prospective trade:
That Matt Duchene would have wound up in a Senators jersey is hardly surprising. Ottawa has been linked to the Avalanche centre for months now – I analyzed the pros and cons of Duchene joining the Senators earlier this season for The Athletic — and for me, such a trade would be reminiscent of last year’s trade that sent Mika Zibanejad and a second round pick to the New York Rangers for Derick Brassard. I say that because it strikes me as another example of the Senators being willing to move draft picks or prospects with an established player to acquire a relatively comparable player who just happens to be on a better contract.
With Mika Zibanejad, the Senators clearly did not want to give him the kind of term and salary that he was looking for on an extension — he signed a five-year, $26.75-million contract on July 25, 2017 – and with Turris, it’s more of the same.
Dreger has consistently maintained his belief that the Senators will trade Turris.
The Senators’ first line centre will be 29 years old at the start of the 2018-19 season and if he’s looking for a seven or eight-year contract extension worth $40 to $50-million, the Senators are right to balk at the asking price. Knowing what we know about NHL aging curves, it’s counterproductive to spend big dollars on an aging player who’s close to entering his decline. Maybe it would be one thing if Turris was an elite point producing centre or an elite defender who tilts the ice significantly in the Senators’ favour, but he’s neither of these things.
Pierre Dorion should be able to confidently look at Turris’ history and believe that he got the best years out of Ottawa’s first line centre.
Unlike Turris, Duchene’s under contract through the 2017-18 season. He would afford the Senators another year of team control for a centre who has put up comparable production rates while playing for an inferior team.
On Sirius XM’s ‘Off the Rush’, Dreger talked about how close the deal was coming to fruition.
“Well, it depends on which teams you were talking to, but at least one of them felt that it was very, very close. Obviously the Ottawa Senators were hopeful that they were going to land Matt Duchene. I mean, Duchene was, effectively sitting in Philadelphia, so it would have been a pretty easy commute to get him into Ottawa as early as today. Anytime you’re dealing with a player of this significance and I’ll include Kyle Turris in that labelling as well, it’s complicated. And then you throw a third team into the mix to execute a three-way (trade) and it gets really, really complicated. So, I think that’s where it broke down. I think the Ottawa Senators, for whatever reason, had a deadline imposed of whatever time it was late last night, and I’m not so sure how it broke down – whether it was uneasiness from Nashville or Colorado – but it did break down. Ottawa stayed true to form and recognized the deadline and the deal died last night and as far as we know, that’s the position that it’s in today.”
Why the Senators would hang a deadline on these negotiations is beyond me. Sure, the team leaves Monday for their back-to-back regular season games versus the Avalanche in Sweden, but with Duchene being scheduled to play for the opposition, it’s hard to believe the Senators would set this deadline while keeping the best interests of the player they would ship out in mind.
In the same Sirius XM interview, Dreger was asked whether this leak would open up new trade avenues for Kyle Turris and Matt Duchene. He admitted that it would but emphasized how long Senators general manager Pierre Dorion had been working on acquiring Duchene.
“Just because our sources indicated again late last night that the deal was dead, I can tell you that Pierre Dorion of the Ottawa Senators has been working on this trade for a long, long time. One of the first teams to get into this way back when, as much as two years ago on a basic inquiry, but the heavy lifting for Dorion, I believe, started right before training camp where ‘I sat down and I’m going to acquire a player who’s going to put us into the status of a Stanley Cup contender.’ Then it kind of died a little bit because whatever the asking price was from Colorado was too rich. Dorion wasn’t in a position to pay it, so the deal basically went quiet. And I believe that Colorado circled back – maybe a couple weeks ago – to say, ‘Alright, well this has dragged on long enough. What about this? What about that?’”
It’s hard to believe that a general manager who worked so hard towards a deal would set a hard deadline that would undo everything that the parties had worked towards, but there’s still time for a deal to be made.
Where the teams go from here remains to be seen, but for me, the most interesting aspect of last night’s leak is trying to determine which party’s interests are served most by it.
No Nashville players or prospects were disclosed in the leak, so it’s hard to imagine what they would stand to gain anything from it.
Thanks to their regional television deal, the Senators obviously have a pretty close relationship with TSN, but letting the NHL world know about how close they were to acquiring Duchene does not really serve the Senators’ interests unless they were trying to create negotiating leverage with Turris and have him sign for less than what he’s asking for.
On the other hand, Turris’ agent Kurt Overhardt has notoriously put clients’ interests in the limelight when it has come time to negotiate new contracts. Whether it was Turris after his first few years in Phoenix or Ryan Johansen, there’s a pattern of behaviour here. If Turris can apply pressure to get what he wants, whether it’s a move or a contract extension with Ottawa
For these same reasons Duchene’s camp, led by Pat Brisson, could leak these reports to help fuel new trade interest in his client, especially if team believe the Avalanche are closer to making a deal than they have been to this point.
And essentially that’s the biggest takeaway: pundits can talk about the talks being “dead”, but a blockbuster trade involving Kyle Turris and Matt Duchene feels as close as it has to ever coming to fruition.