I lost count how many times Matt Duchene was rumoured to possibly be heading to the Montreal Canadiens.
First, he was a member of the Colorado Avalanche but unhappy and wanted out. There were rumours he was heading to Montreal, but he ultimately landed in Ottawa as the Senators sent a huge package of players to the Avs to get the deal done.
Just a year later, Duchene was on the trade block once again, and of course the Canadiens came up as a potential trade partner. Duchene was eventually shuttled to the Columbus Blue Jackets for a handful of picks and prospects.
About three months later, Duchene was an unrestricted free agent, and you guessed it, the Canadiens were on his short list. According to the insiders, it sounds like the Canadiens were on a very short list with the Nashville Predators, but Duchene would sign a seven year contract with an $8 million cap hit.
Duchene was coming off a 70 point season in 73 games, but he would score just 13 goals and 42 points in 2019-20, his first with the Predators. This season was far worse as Duchene scored just six goals and 13 points in 34 games. He still has five more years left on that seven year deal.
If the Habs had signed Duchene in July of 2019, they wouldn’t have had the cap flexibility to trade Max Dom for Josh Anderson because it added $2.5 million in cap space. They likely would have been forced to find a cheaper backup than Jake Allen this season as well.
They also would not have made the playoffs with Duchene on the team and Allen and Anderson playing elsewhere.