Matt Duchene: Staying in Columbus ‘would be a great thing’


Matt Duchene, as a member of the Blue Jackets. (Fred Chartrand/CP)

Matt Duchene has clearly enjoyed his time with the Columbus Blue Jackets since the trade deadline.

“I’ve been so happy to be a Blue Jacket and been grateful to be here,” Duchene told reporters during an exit interview Wednesday.

With his season complete, Duchene said he would consider the Blue Jackets in free agency.

“I’ve really enjoyed my time here and we will definitely be talking with [Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen] and the Blue Jackets and seeing what’s in store,” he said.

“Obviously, it would be a great thing if it could continue, so we’ll see what happens.”

But Duchene is still far from making a decision. The 28-year-old centre said it will be a “hockey decision” and he intends to explore all possibilities.

“It’s a big moment in my life. It’s probably the biggest decision I’ll ever have to make,” he said.

Duchene is in the final season of the five-year, $30 million contract he signed as a member of the Colorado Avalanche. If Duchene signs a new deal with Columbus, the Ottawa Senators would receive a first-round pick in the 2020 draft based on the conditions from the February trade.

Kekalainen said the team has some important decisions to make during the off-season.

“There was a lot of positives about him, and the future will tell it goes,” Kekalainen said. “But we were happy with his performance. He was a good player for us, and he was a good teammate too.”

Sergei Bobrovsky was also asked about his plans for free agency, but the Blue Jackets goalie said he’s not ready to answer questions about his contract. He did dismiss rumours about if the relationship between him and the franchise was possibly fractured.

“No, I don’t feel that way,” he said. “There were some ups and downs as always in that process, but we say thank you to each other and it’s good.”

The Blue Jackets had a cap space just over $3.5 million for the 2018-2019 season. The projected cap space for the 2019-2020 season is $28 million, according to CapFriendly.


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