The Ottawa Senators and pending unrestricted free agent forward Matt Duchene have made progress in contract talks according to TSN's Bob McKenzie.
Duchene, 27, is in the final season of a five-year, $30 million contract he signed with the Colorado Avalanche. McKenzie believes an extension would be for eight years (the maximum term under the current CBA), worth around $8-9 million a season annually.
Retaining Duchene should be a no-brainer for Senators GM Pierre Dorion. He's up to 10 goals and 27 points in 21 games, and is coming off a solid 59-point 2017-18 season - split with the Avalanche and Sens.
Ottawa surrendered a major package to get Duchene from the Avalanche last year. In a three-team trade, the Senators dealt star forward Kyle Turris to the Nashville Predators. Colorado receives prospect Shane Bowers, goalie Andrew Hammond and a 2018 or 2019 first-round pick from Ottawa.
Of course, the Senators made the bold decision to retain the No. 4 pick in 2018 (they selected Brady Tkachuk), and thus give the Avalanche their 2019 first-rounder. The Sens risk losing prized prospect Jack Hughes - if that selection winds up being first overall.
That alone gives the front office even more incentive to try and retain Duchene long-term, given how much they sacrificed to land him. He's fit nicely in the nation's capital and has done a fine job working with younger players like Tkachuk, Colin White, Thomas Chabot and Chris Tierney.
What This Means
After trading captain Erik Karlsson to the San Jose Sharks, the Senators became the consensus pick to finish dead-last in the NHL this season, and thus give Colorado tremendous odds of winning the draft lottery.
But the Sens have played .500 hockey and are getting great production from Duchene, Mark Stone and the other young forwards. As such, it makes perfect sense to extend Duchene and keep him around as they slowly start to reform as a contender.