Senators send Duchene to Columbus
By Darren Lum
Published Feb. 26, 2019
Haliburton’s Matt Duchene is embarking on a new chapter, playing for the Columbus Blue Jackets.
As reported by NHL.com, he was traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets by the Ottawa Senators on Friday for a pair of prospects and first-round draft picks, a 2019 and a 2020 being conditional upon him signing with them after he becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
Later that day, he squared off against his former team at the Canadian Tire Centre playing for the visitors, the Blue Jackets. It was odd to Duchene, yet familiar.
“I’ve been through it before, playing against my old team the first game [last season with Ottawa against the Colorado Avalanche],” he said during a media scrum wearing Blue Jackets clothing before his game. “It’s weird to be in the same building, I mean, to drive to the rink, have the same routine and it’s a road game is strange for sure.”
He expressed mixed emotions about the trade, which occurred before Monday’s NHL trade deadline.
“I’m excited though, obviously. I really treasured my time in Ottawa. It’s definitely a bittersweet thing. I was committed from the start of wanting to be here and be in Ottawa. Obviously, things change and you’ve got to make the right decision for your future. I’m excited to be a part of this team. This is a really good team and hopefully I can fit in well here,” he said.
Duchene said this was a “hockey decision for me.”
Sportsnet reports Duchene was open to remaining in Ottawa.
Sportsnet also reports he was offered a fair eight-year contract extension, but wasn’t prepared to sign with Ottawa because of the challenges and uncertainties related to their plans to rebuild the team.
“It was a huge thing to commit to eight years, somewhere where there’s still a lot of question marks,” Duchene said. “The picture may be a little clearer in the summer.”
This season NHL.com said Duchene tallied 58 points (27 goals and 31 assists) in 50 games for Ottawa. He was acquired by the Senators from the Avalanche as part of a three-team trade that included the Nashville Predators on Nov. 5, 2017. Last season, following the trade, Duchene finished with 49 points (23 goals and 26 assists) in 68 games with the Senators.
So far the trade has worked out for the Blue Jackets and Duchene, who scored a goal and added an assist in a 4-0 win in his home debut against San Jose.