Mind games, rebuilds and misuse: Senators begin restock by trading Matt Duchene to Columbus

On Friday afternoon, the Ottawa Senators made the first of their many big moves on the weekend by trading Matt Duchene to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Along with Duchene, Julius Bergman is headed to Columbus. In return, Ottawa received prospects Vitaly Abramov and Jonathan Dvidsson, as well as a first round pick in 2019 and a conditional first round pick in 2020. The 2020 first round pick goes to Ottawa if Duchene re-signs with the Blue Jackets and elects not to hit free agency this summer.

The deal, in essence, is a large, calculated risk for Columbus. By adding Duchene, the Blue Jackets are putting all of their eggs into one basket and attempting to go on a Stanley Cup run this season. In the best case scenario, that happens. In the worst case scenario, the Blue Jackets lose all three of Duchene, Artemi Panarin, and Sergei Bobrovsky this summer for nothing.

By adding Duchene, the Blue Jackets feel that the center core that they now have in place can rival and other team’s. Duchene, plus Alex Wennberg and Pierre-Luc Dubois, provides a fantastic one-two-three punch down the middle. With the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins faltering, the Blue Jackets certainly have a chance to make waves and make it to the Conference Final for a duel with the Tampa Bay Lightning. This, however, is huge risk for a franchise that has not won a playoff series in its history.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Ottawa Senators hit full rebuild mode with this deal. Although it will not be a high pick, they re-coop some assets lost in the initial Duchene trade with the Colorado Avalanche. Abramov and Davidsson are also two solid prospects to add to an already beefy system.

Abramov, 20, is an undersized forward at 5-foot-9, but he lit up the QMJHL with Gatineau in his time there. In 52 games in the AHL this season, he has 22 points. Although these numbers are not staggering, it is a solid production line for a player in his first professional season. He is still likely a full year or so away, at least, from making the show, but he will make n impact one day soon nonetheless with his speed and scoring prowess.

Davidsson, drafted in the sixth round in 2017, has spent the last four seasons with Djurgardens in Sweden. At 21, he has 20 points in 35 games this season. It is a difficult league to put up points in as a young player, so that is an encouraging sign.

With the deal, you also have to wonder if Ottawa general manager Pierre Dorion is playing a mind game with the rest of the league. By sending Duchene to Columbus, it basically takes Panarin off the market. Thus, Mark Stone and Ryan Dzingel become two of the, if not the two, biggest names on the market as rentals. It effectively drives their prices up even higher.

Although Dorion was likely looking for the best deal out there, sending Duchene to Ohio was a pretty solid outcome. He is probably hoping that Duchene re-signs there, too, as it would ensure the Senators another first round pick.

According to a report from Elliotte Friedman, however, no extension is in place or has been seriously discussed at this time.

Stay up to date with all 2019 NHL trade deadline news hereor on Twitter @HighWrapHockey!

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