Matt Duchene

Nashville Predators: Matt Duchene Locked Up For Seven Years

featured image photo credit – Dinur Blum

Matt Duchene is wasting no time in packing his bags. On his Twitter bio, he describes himself as “a country music wannabe”. With his love for country music and his quest for a Stanley Cup, the Nashville Predators seemed like the perfect fit.

Matt Duchene has signed a 7 year, 56 million dollars deal. That’s roughly an AAV of 8 million USD. 

In the below tweet from TSN’s Darren Dreger, the hockey analyst explains that Duchene’s contract includes quite a bit of signing bonus funds. In total, Duchene is earning 28 million in signing bonuses. Take a look at the year-by-year breakdown.

Losing Subban, Adding Duchene

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A few days ago, the Predators created the necessary cap space to add Duchene when they traded P.K. Subban and his 9 million dollar cap hit to the New Jersey Devils. The Predators have an emerging defensive stud in Dante Fabbro, so they felt comfortable in the defense and saw an opportunity to free up cap space and add a top centreman.

In the tweet below from Greg Moshopoulous (@GreekGoalie35), he talks about the moves that general manager David Poile made over the last two weeks and how the Predators are in fact saving money.

There were plenty of hockey fans across the globe who were questioning the Subban trade, but it helped the Predators address major issues. They needed to improve their forward group.

At a press conference today, David Poile said “Our objective this offseason was to bolster our offense, and signing Matt Duchene gives us another dynamic goal-scoring, playmaking center,”. Poile went onto say, “We are excited to add his skill and experience to our top-six forwards and look forward to the next seven years of Matt and his family in Smashville.”

Duchene

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Matt Duchene is an elite scorer. He first came into the league in 2009 draft and was the third overall pick by the Colorado Avalanche. Since his NHL debut, Duchene has scored 547 points. He has scored 232 goals and 315 assists. This ranks him second among skaters from this draft. Last year, Matt Duchene suited up for the Ottawa Senators and the Columbus Blue Jackets. Even though he was moved at the deadline, he quickly found chemistry with his teammates in Columbus. At the end of the regular season, he managed to tally 31 goals and 39 assists.

Along with being a goal scorer he can also take face-offs.  His face-off percentage is off the charts.  For his career, he holds a 53.1 percent win percentage. According to nhl.com, he’s the 12th-highest among players who have taken at least 10,000 face-offs since he entered the League in 2009-10. Last year was his best year at the dot. His 62.9 face-off win percentage was ranked first in the NHL. In addition, Duchene’s win percentage from last season at the face-off circle is ranked tenth all-time in NHL history. 

As you can see, Matt Duchene will have an instant impact on the Predators.  

stats from hockey-reference.com and NHL.com

 

 

Matt Duchene

Reaction Roundup: Matt Duchene Looks Like He’s Going To Nashville

featured image photo credit – Dinur Blum

Earlier this evening, Chris Johnston of Rogers Sportsnet tweeted out that the Nashville Predators are looking like the winners of the Matt Duchene sweepstakes. But, nothing will be confirmed till tomorrow.

Duchene is coming off a season, in which he split his time between the Ottawa Senators and the Columbus Blue Jackets. He began the season with the Senators, but was dealt to the Blue Jackets prior to the trade deadline as the Blue Jackets were looking to stockpile talent before the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Duchene ended up finishing the season with 31 goals and 39 assists in 73 games played. In addition, he managed to muster up 5 goals and 5 assists in 10 playoff games with the Blue Jackets.

While Columbus had a lot of success in the playoffs, they have quite a few of unrestricted free agents including Ryan Dzingel, Sergei Bobrovsky, Duchene and Artemi Panarin. With several free agents potentially leaving Columbus, Duchene might have wanted a bit more security in terms of long-term success and so he chose to go to a club (Nashville Predators) who has historically done well. But, the Predators still don’t have a Stanley Cup championship. With Duchene signing long-term in Nashville, the Predators forward group is ready to pounce on the competition and the Predators look like a contender.

Reaction Roundup

Let’s take a look at what analysts and fans had to say about Duchene heading down to Nashville.

Pierre LeBrun of TSN talks about what the contract might look like for Duchene. While it’s not confirmed quite yet, the projected AAV would be 8 million USD. 

My twitter buddy, @AbsCoverage isn’t too thrilled that the Montréal Canadiens couldn’t reel in Duchene. But, he might sleep easier, since he knows that Duchene going to Nashville is nearly a completed deal.

Friend of Puck77, Nathan Graviteh talks about the Matt Duchene rumoured signing in a new video. 

Looks like the folks at On The Forecheck, the Nashville Predators SB Nation blog site seem up beat about Duchene coming to Nashville (if it’s completed).

Cam Robinson of DobberProspects compares the Matt Duchene signing to the Philadelphia Flyers signing Kevin Hayes

Oh, Travis. Travis Yost laying on the jokes. 

Arpon Basu of The Athletic was almost ready to prep his post on Duchene signing with the Canadiens. Unfortunately for Habs fans, that doesn’t look like it’s happening.

In-Depth Analysis

For in-depth analysis of the Duchene signing, stay tuned. The Puck77 team will have an in-depth analysis of the signing, but we are waiting for the deal to be confirmed.

stats from hockey-reference.com

Follow Josh Tessler, the author of this post on Twitter (@JoshTessler_)

Nashville Predators: Draft Analysis

In the past few drafts, the Nashville Predators have selected with defence in mind. This year they had a very good draft where they took some much needed forward prospects.

Picks

Philip Tomasino, 24th overall, Round 1

Egor Afanasyev, 45th overall, Round 2

Alexander Campbell, 65th overall, Round 3

Marc Del Gaizo, 109th overall, Round 4

Semyon Chystyakov, 117th overall, Round 4

Ethan Haider, 148th overall, Round 5

Isak Walther, 179th overall, Round 6

Juuso Parssinen, 210th overall, Round 7

Analyzing the draft

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Philip Tomasino, C, Niagara Ice Dogs (OHL)

Tomasino excites me as a Predators fan as he is a fast, skillful skater who can both shoot and pass the puck exceptionally well. Tomasino is very similar to Kyle Turris with his pucks skill and shot but can skate and defend much better than Turris. He finished the year with 34 goals and 38 assists for a total of 72 points. He also tripled his point total this year compared to last year. Learn more about Tomasino with Spencer Loane’s article about him: puck77.com. This was a great pick by the Predators.

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Egor Afanasyev, LW, Muskegon Lumberjacks (USHL)

Afanasyev was a bit of a surprise for me as I haven’t heard much about him, but after looking him up and seeing his stats I believe he can end up being a great second or third liner. He broke out on to the scene this year with 27 goals and 37 assists for a total of 72 points. He said in an interview on NHL.com that he compares himself to Blake Wheeler and plays a 200-ft game. The Predators, I believe, reached a little here but I do believe he will be a good player nonetheless.

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Alexander Campbell, C, Victoria Grizzlies (BCHL)

Campbell played with Los Angeles Kings prospect Alex Newhook, who went number five overall in the draft, and they both played very well this past year. Campbell had 21 goals and 46 assists for a total of 67 points. He is a great skater with even better hands who can slip through the smallest of holes given to him by defensemen and when he has the opportunity to shoot he doesn’t back down and takes his chances. This was one of the best picks made by Nashville and could even end up being one of the best steals in the draft, as I believe Campbell’s ceiling is very high.

Overview of the Draft.

This was a great draft compared to last year’s draft where we didn’t have many picks at all. Poile made some great picks and trades that are going to help in the future. The team was definitely looking into the future with these picks, as some won’t be ready until 2-4 years from now. But the few who will be ready soon are some great players who fit the Predators’ needs perfectly.

 

Stats from eliteprospects.com and prospect-stats.com

Featured Image Photo Credit: Nikos Michals

New Jersey Devils

New Jersey Devils: Acquire P.K. Subban

The New Jersey Devils made the biggest splash on the Draft Floor when they acquired P.K. Subban from the Nashville Predators for a package of draft picks and Steven Santini and Jeremy Davies.

 

Devils Take

While it is difficult to gauge the results of the trade right away, it is fun to speculate as to how this plays out. Firstly, P.K. Subban is an upgrade on most blue-lines. He is a talented puck mover with a hard point shot and excellent skating ability. While his defense is less than stellar, he is no slouch, and he adds scoring potential and bolsters a team’s power play. Coming off his worst statistical season, Subban’s play led the Predators to sell low on the former Norris Trophy Winner. The Devils are hoping that Subban can return to form and justify the $9M per year price tag.

A realistic expectation for New Jersey fans would be to get 50 to 55 points from Subban, and he could eat up 22 to 24 minutes a night, while manning the top power play. 

For the return they sent back, Devils General Manager Ray Shero and the team came out ahead in this trade.

Grade: B+

Predators Take

As the rumors of the lower than expected salary cap became more realistic, the idea of a P.K. Subban trade was evident. The Nashville Predators had ~$77M in team salary committed to next season, with a few glaring holes to fill. They have been rumored to be one of the leading clubs to land Unrstricted Free Agent Matt Duchene. Assuming Dante Fabro makes the leap to full-time NHLer, he will likely slot in the top 4, which leaves Santini to fill in the bottom pair.

I think the two 2nd round picks are an underwhelming return, getting Davies in the deal was a bit of a sweetener. He is a talented offensive defenseman that just signed his Entry Level Contract. Playing at Northeastern University, he netted eight goals and 28 assists in 37 games. He will likely join the Milwaukee Admirals next season, Nashville’s American Hockey League affiliate, and make a worthwhile extra defenseman, if injury forces the situation.

Grade: C

Summary

Overall, I think this was a pretty good hockey trade that was dictated from a Devils position of strength. Any other year, this would have been a horrifying trade for the Predators, but their cap situation and a down year by Subban forced Nashville General Manager Dave Poille’s hand.

Statistics provided by TSN

Featured Image Photo Credit: Nikos Michals

Puck77

2019 NHL Mock Draft: Picks 21-25

Part 5 of my 2019 NHL Mock draft is here, and this will feature picks 21-25. For a quick refresher, click here for part 1, here for part 2, here for part 3, and here for part 4.

 

 

21st Overall Pick: Pittsburgh Penguins select Moritz Seider, Right Handed Defenseman, Adler Mannheim, DEL

The 6’4, 198 pound German from Zell (Mosel), Germany, is one of the rare commodities to come out of the German elite league, DEL. Although German hockey has been on the rise, very few 17/18 year olds have been selected as early as Moritz Seider likely will. His ranking has varied from as early as 10th and as late as 21st, with his average ranking being placed at 16.2.

 

For his size, he moves fast, with a very technically sound stride. He’s not easily knocked off the puck, and doesn’t often get out-worked along the boards or in front of the net, but could still get better with more strength. His transitional game is very strong as well, thanks in part to his handling of the puck, along with his skating. He also has a very good up-ice pass. He has great shooting ability, with an accurate wrist shot, and smart slapshots (low on net for deflections or rebounds).

 

What he isn’t exactly good at and should look to improve is his mobility at the blueline, in order to open up more passing and/or shooting lanes. When the opposing team is moving the puck up ice on his side, he looks to throw big hits, but he doesn’t quite have the awareness to know when he should/shouldn’t step up, often times drawing himself out of position. He isn’t very good in his own end either, as he is not exactly positionally sound, but he has the size to win netfront battles as well as battles in the corner, which gives him a base for defensive coaches to build on at the next level.

 

He did not produce at a high level in the DEL (two goals, four assists for six points in 29 games) but it was his first real test against competition outside of his age group. Where he did shine, however, was at the international stage. He first played on the German U20 World Junior Championship D1-A (one step below the WJC) where he put up a goal and six assists (seven points) in five games, leading the German’s to qualify for next seasons WJC.

 

After that, he cracked the German IIHF World Championship roster, where he faced off against NHL competition, as well as top prospects Kappo Kakko and Jack Hughes. He scored two goals in five games before being injured by Ladislav Nagy of the Slovakian team. It’s important to note that he has had injury problems, mainly being with his shoulder, outside of the concussion he sustained at the IIHF World’s.

 

Pittsburgh hasn’t had a great defensive core for a few years now, and the recent trade involving defenseman Olli Maatta makes their defensive needs jump off the page even more here. Right handed defensemen are hard to find as well, and Seider is a very intriguing selection for them.

 

Future Role: He is a long-term project, according to multiple evaluations on him, but I think otherwise. While his defensive coverage isn’t the most attractive, he was getting a first taste of playing against men, and I believe that next season, he will get his feet set there and stand out. I expect him to be a top-four defenseman, with the offensive abilities to play top powerplay minutes.

 

22nd Overall Pick: Los Angeles Kings select Nils Hoglander, Left Winger, Rogle BK, SHL

Hoglander is another one in the group of undersized skaters, as he stands at just 5’9, and 185 pounds. He has been ranked as early as 19th and as late as 41st, with his average ranking at 28.2.

 

Hoglander is one of my favorite prospects, and here’s why. He is a really, really good skater, burning defenseman time and time again. He also has the edgework to dart wide, and then quickly cut towards the net for a great scoring chance. Despite being undersized, he has strong balance, and can battle along the boards just as good as everyone else, which is a major plus for teams who are looking into him. He can dice up defenders too, as he has great stickhandling abilities. He can make a move while going full speed as well, making him unpredictable and difficult to defend one on one.

 

Because of all that, defenders tend to back off a bit more, as to not get burned wide, which opens passing lanes for him to exploit. And he is a good passer, too. He has a great shot, very accurate, though it does lack the necessary power to find success in the NHL. Beyond that, he is an excellent forechecker, and despite his size, does not shy away from playing physical.

Similar to Torey Krug, he can throw heavy hits at times.

 

He is a hard working player at both ends of the ice, mixing his aggressiveness with his positioning in the defensive zone to create turnovers. Transitionally, he uses his speed to blast into the offensive zone and get to work. But despite all of his great qualities, he lacks offensive production. It astonishes me how a guy who is such a fantastic skater, with a very aggressive play style, along with creative offensive instincts to pair with great passing abilities and an accurate shot, lacks production. Playing against men in the SHL last season, he managed to only put up seven goals and seven assists (14 points) in 50 games. He’s also one of the older guys eligible in the draft, due to his late December birthday.

 

Future Role: His ceiling is becoming a top-six winger at the moment, but he has all the offensive tools, and if he can turn the production up to where he should be with his talent, he could very well be a future elite winger. Why’s that? Because he plays a very complete game, and only needs to mature, fine tune the smaller details, and bulk up. Even if his production remains underwhelming, he has third line capabilities. He’s a safe pick in the late stages of the first round.

 

23rd Overall Pick: New York Islanders select Raphael Lavoie, Right Wing/Center, Halifax Mooseheads, QMJHL

While Hoglander is one of my favorite prospects, Lavoie is my favorite, outside the top-10, that is. The Chambly, Quebec native has great size (6’4, 198 pounds) with room to grow. He may not have blazing speed, but he can beat defenders wide with his very strong strides, and solid acceleration. He also has arguably the best balance in this draft, as he is very difficult to knock off the puck and beat in board battles, as well as in front of the net.

 

Lavoie is a sniper in the offensive zone. His wrist shot is fantastic, and his slapshot packs a ton of power. Going back to his ability to win positioning in front of the net, he is a master at scoring in tight in those areas, whether it’s off a deflection or he gathers the rebounds. His stickhandling also allows him to make a quick move near the goaltender to beat him and score that way. He is dangerous in the cycle, and when he sees a lane, he takes it. He can also be a playmaker, as he sees the ice well and puts the puck on the tape of a teammate.

 

Before his draft season, Lavoie was known to be a lesser defensive zone player, and looked at as mainly an offense-only forward. However, this season, he showed a nose for the puck, and backchecked with authority to get it on his stick. He battles hard along the boards for the puck, helping defensemen down low. He is willing to block shots, basically anything to help his team win, he’s up for the task. He is an effective transitional player as well. With Halifax, he was able to post 32 goals and 41 assists (73 points) in 62 games played. He has the versatility to play all three forward positions, but is more likely to play wing due to his still questionable defensive capabilities.

 

Future Role: If he can continue to show his improvements in the defensive zone while maintaining and improving upon his offensive skills, he could be a top 6 winger, with the ability to play both powerplay and penalty kill minutes.

 

24th Overall Pick: Nashville Predators select Philip Tomasino, Center, Niagara Ice Dogs, OHL

The 6’0, 180 pound center for the Niagara Ice Dogs, Tomasino was a former fifth overall selection in the Ontario Hockey League draft. Tomasino’s rankings vary, as do many of the late first rounders, and has been ranked as early as 18th and as late as 34th, with his average at 23.7.

 

Similar to Hoglander, Tomasino is an incredible skater, which often leads to defenders backing off and granting him space to either shoot or pass. However, he doesn’t quite have the balance that Hoglander has, and he is more easily knocked off the puck. His stickhandling is superb, and he can make quick plays with his stick and skates to open up a teammate for a pass. He has a more developed shot than Hoglander, but he still has more room to improve with his power. He isn’t afraid to push his way to the front of the net or the corners to battle for a screen or the puck. He is a very effective forechecker, forcing lots of turnovers, but doesn’t play the body too often in those scenarios. He is always moving in the offensive zone, never stopping even for a second. That energy is tangible, and lots of teams would love to have that kind of guy on the ice for their team.

 

However, with that playing style, he frustrates opponents, and if he runs into a Brad Marchand, or a Dustin Byfuglien (dirty player or big, physical player) he could be on the tail end of something awful. He must bulk up, more so than most other prospects.

 

Defensively he struggles. Because he is outmatched physically, he tends to reach for the puck often, which makes it too easy for the opponent to make a move to get by him. He also doesn’t read the play effectively enough, and isn’t always in the right position. However, he does try and support the defense down low, and with that effort, coaches can help him with everything else.

 

The reason why I continued to bring up Hoglander multiple times is because these two players play an eerily similar style, with a near identical skill set. Both are creative offensively, whether it be stickhandling, passing, or shooting. Both are hardworking, and constantly trying to get the puck on their sticks. However, where Hoglander has him beat is in his more physical and aggressive play, looking more for the body and not the puck. That’s why Hoglander is a more effective player in the defensive zone.

 

But, while Hoglander struggles to produce offensively, albeit in a tougher league, Tomasino does not. He put up 34 goals and 38 assists (72 points) in 67 games played. He produces more than Hoglander, which tells me he uses his offensive skills more effectively. But he has more holes in his game, which is why he is a couple spots lower.

 

Future Role: If he bulks up, it should fix a few of his developmental hurdles. He will have to be coached well to be a reliable player on the defensive end, but it’s mainly positioning that is the issue. All minor flaws, meaning he will likely make it, and slot in, at the worst, as a middle six center, with the chance to play first line if needed. Certainly good enough to play on the powerplay once he makes it.

 

25th Overall Selection: Washington Capitals select Thomas Harley, Left-Handed Defenseman, Mississauga Steelheads, OHL

Harley was highly thought of by several other contributors on Puck77, recently being ranked 21st overall by those writers. Overall, the 6’3, 183 pound, Syracuse, New York native Harley has been ranked as early as 18th and as late as 24th, with his average being 20.5. So, why does he drop to 25?

 

Let’s get into it. He gets to his to speed very quickly, due to his strong first steps. He is quick with his edges, allowing him to change from defense to offense with rapid pace. That also makes him effective when moving across the point area, opening up passing and shooting lanes. Harley reads the play very quickly on offense, and he’s able to find teammates with a quick and accurate pass. He keeps his shots low and on net, and has greatly improved his shooting abilities from last season, which widens his potential scoring down the road. He is great in transition, with the ability to make a great first pass. He, at times, acts like a fourth forward on the rush, which also boosts his potential offensive output down the road.

 

But what he is most known for is his defensive game. He is very rarely out of position, and knows where to be at almost all times. He shows good strength despite being just 183 pounds, and tends to win board battles as well as net-front battles. But here is why I have him being selected a bit lower than many expect him to. He struggles against faster, shiftier forwards on the rush, and with the way the game is evolving, he could be left in the dust. His worst nightmare would be facing Johnny Gaudreau, Connor McDavid, Brayden Point, Mikko Rantanen, Patrick Kane, etc., the list goes on and on. Even some lesser known guys like Carl Hagelin could make him look bad. He has to improve that area of his game to be effective at the next level.

 

As for his production last season, Harley had 11 goals and 47 assists (58 points) in 68 games for Mississauga. He also played for Team Canada at the U18 WJC, where he posted one goal and three assists (four points) in seven games.

 

Future Role: He is a safe pick in a sense that he will very likely crack an NHL roster down the road. He is a complete player, with maturity and high hockey IQ. His problem is he can’t handle what the game is becoming. At best, he will be a second pair defenseman with powerplay time, but at worst, a third pair journeyman defenseman, still with powerplay time. That being said, if he doesn’t fix that glaring hole in his game, he will really have to milk his offensive abilities to keep an NHL spot.

 

All stats via Eliteprospects

Featured Image Photo Credit: Nikos Michals