Duchene, who’s set to become an unrestricted free agent after playing out the five-year, $30-million deal he signed with Colorado in 2013, met with the Canadiens on Wednesday, Sportsnet’s Eric Engels confirmed.
Nashville nearly acquired Duchene two summers ago, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, who noted in the latest 31 Thoughts that the Predators and Avalanche discussed a Duchene-for-P.K. Subban swap, which never came to fruition. “Now that the Predators moved Subban’s money, we’re all waiting to see if this Tennessee romance occurs,” Friedman wrote Wednesday.
The Haliburton, Ont., native is coming off a career-best campaign that saw him post 31 goals and 70 points in 2018-19, splitting time between the Ottawa Senators and the Columbus Blue Jackets. Prior to his two-year stint in Ottawa, Duchene amassed 428 points in 586 games over the course of his nine years in Colorado.
Duchene now heads into unrestricted free agency as one of the most sought-after names on the market.
“It’s a situation of constant information-gathering whenever you’re in a contract year,” Duchene told Luke Fox prior to the 2018-19 season. “Johnny [Tavares] is a good friend of mine. We’ve come up together: same agent, same trainer, same equipment company, same draft, same everything. It’s a guy I’m very familiar with and have a really good relationship with. I thought he handled the situation with extreme class and respect for everyone involved. I definitely took notes.”
The talented pivot was offered an eight-year, $64-million extension by Ottawa prior to the trade deadline deal that sent him to Columbus, according to Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos, suggesting Duchene will likely earn at least that much on a potential new deal.