NHL Source: Avalanche have tried to re-engage Penguins in trade talks
After the Colorado Avalanche backed out of what the Columbus Blue Jackets believed was a verbal agreement the two sides had that would have sent Matt Duchene to the Blues Jackets about a week before training camps began, the Avalanche over the past 5-7 days have tried to expand the market for Duchene and reignite talks with clubs that have been on the outside and pretty much out of the mix for months due to a lack of trade match.
The Pittsburgh Penguins have been one of 2-3 teams that had interest last winter in Duchene that the Avalanche have tried to bring back to the table in recent days, Inside Pittsburgh Sports has learned.
While Jim Rutherford always tries to keep his ear close to the goings around the league, Pittsburgh for the last several weeks have all but closed the door on Duchene due to a lack of trade match.
In fact, Pittsburgh and Colorado haven’t had any substantive talks about Duchene since around June.
Will anything change now?
Pittsburgh being willing to move Olli Maatta as a centerpiece for Duchene last season never really gained traction in talks as the Avalanche had viewed Maatta more as a No. 5 d-man and what has changed since from Pittsburgh’s end is the appetite to part with Maatta for the right deal has died down, league sources say, at least for now.
It doesn’t mean Maatta is an untouchable, which isn’t the case at all, but there’s some level of pause in the organization that moving one of their top-5 defensemen for a third line center/or top-6 talent like Duchene would be extremely dicey were Kris Letang or a Justin Schultz suffer a long-term injury.
Beyond their top-7, Pittsburgh’s NHL caliber defensive depth is slim pickings in Wilkes Barre and there are also a number of injuries with the Baby Penguins.
Jarred Tinordi is on the shelf and Jeff Taylor who’s likely a year away from being NHL ready is also week-to-week. Zach Trotman who showed some upside in camp and has a good first pass suffered a shoulder injury Saturday night.
Wilkes Barre’s top-2 pairings in Saturday’s opener was Kevin Czuczman-Lukas Bengtsson, Chris Summers-Zach Trotman with Andrey Pedan, and Frank Corrado as the third pair.
When Pittsburgh acquired Corrado as part of the Eric Fehr trade, Pittsburgh saw him having the ability to be a Chad Ruhwedel type as a No. 7 who could step into a No. 3 pairing role when needed.
Unfortunately, there’s not much there.
Indications are if Pittsburgh re-emerges as a player in the Duchene derby, it will come down to Colorado’s willingness to take a forward heavy package. Names such as Conor Sheary, Daniel Sprong are being thrown around by rival executives.[/hide]