3. Matt Duchene, Center, 28 years old, Columbus Blue Jackets (Pending UFA)
Signing the well-traveled Matt Duchene would give the Ducks one the leagues best center pairings. With Getzlaf in the twilight of his prime, adding the offensively gifted Duchene would allow Getzy to avoid match-ups against the oppositions shutdown line.
Duchene is coming off a stellar playoff performance and is nearly a point-per-game player in the postseason (albeit a small sample size). Duchene has an amazing shot and has been very good in the faceoff dot. There isn’t a lot to dislike about his game and having personal success with multiple franchises over the past few years ensures his success isn’t tied to a single system.
The biggest con in signing Duchene will be how many suitors he has; and, consequently the contract he’ll receive. In addition, Duchene has a much-publicized desire to be on a competing team and Anaheim’s struggles this year could make them an afterthought.
To emphasize the point, he joined Ottawa after they mad a run to the Eastern Conference Finals, only to end up in the gutter for the next 1.5 seasons. That being said, the Anaheim Ducks have been one of the most successful franchises since he entered the league and are poised to rebound, so don’t count the mallards out just yet.
Why He’s Available
Quite simply, he wants to be a free agent. His desire to pursue free agency caused Ottawa to ship the pivot to Columbus. Columbus was loading up for a cup run and knew he was a rental, so he’s all but assured to reach the open market. Duchene has earned the right to pick his next franchise. His destination will not be centered around money, his checkbook will be just fine regardless of where he signs, but it’s going to be more about personal fit.