Editorials

5 Forwards the Blackhawks Should Be Targeting in Free Agency

By Tony Gianares
CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 31: Artemi Panarin
CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 31: Artemi Panarin /
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COLUMBUS, OH – APRIL 16: Matt Duchene #95 of the Columbus Blue Jackets skates against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game Four of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on April 16, 2019 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. Columbus defeated Tampa Bay 7-3 to win the series 4-0. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)
COLUMBUS, OH – APRIL 16: Matt Duchene #95 of the Columbus Blue Jackets skates against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game Four of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on April 16, 2019 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. Columbus defeated Tampa Bay 7-3 to win the series 4-0. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images) /

Matt Duchene

Matt Duchene is a playmaking center who has had a successful, and somewhat controversial, 10-year career in the NHL. Duchene was originally drafted 3rd overall in 2009 by the Colorado Avalanche where he put up a respectable 428 points (178G, 250A) in 586 games, which also came with a concerning -60 ± rating. During the 2016-17 season, he was dealt to the Ottawa Senators in a 3-team trade including the Nashville Predators.

Duchene would have a decent couple of years with the rebuilding Senators, as he produced 107 points (50G, 57A) in 118 games with a -25 ± rating. The Ottawa Senators committed to a full rebuild this past offseason when they dealt star defenseman, Erik Karlsson to the San Jose Sharks. They also unloaded Mark Stone to the Vegas Golden Knights and Duchene wasn’t far behind, as he was also traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets at the trade deadline.

Although Duchene isn’t exactly a defensive guru, he has played better defensively this season where he had a -3 ± in split time with Ottawa and Columbus. Duchene would certainly help solidify the Blackhawks’ top-6 and give them much more versatility with line combinations. He can also win faceoffs with a career 53.1 FOW%.

I wouldn’t mind seeing Duchene take over that 2nd line center role. Imagine rolling out Alex DeBrincat-Matt Duchene-Patrick Kane or maybe even Brandon Saad-Matt Duchene-Patrick Kane. The power play would also reap the benefits of a Duchene signing, especially that 2nd power play unit. He racked up a total of 53 power play goals with 14 of them coming in the past 2 seasons. You can see Duchene’s value on the power play with this game-winning PPG that came last night in 2OT.

Matt Duchene is currently on the final year of a 5-year, $30 mil deal ($6 mil AAV) so you can expect him to ask for a raise this offseason. Duchene may end up landing somewhere in the $7.5-9 mil AAV range on his new contract.

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