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Duchene reports to Avalanche training camp

Forward, subject of trade rumors, says he's 'here for my teammates'

by Rick Sadowski / Correspondent

DENVER -- Forward Matt Duchene reported to the opening of Colorado Avalanche training camp at Pepsi Center on Thursday, but he didn't seem happy.

"Guys, to start, I'm not taking any questions right now," he said. "I'm here to honor my contract. I'm here out of respect for the fans and I'm here for my teammates. I had a great summer of training and I'm in good physical condition, so thanks so much. See you in the next couple of days, OK? Thank you."

Duchene, 26, has two seasons remaining on a five-year, $30 million contract he signed with the Avalanche on July 18, 2013, with an average annual value of $6 million, according to He is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2018-19 season.

He has been mentioned in trade rumors since last season, and it wasn't certain he would report with the rest of the Avalanche veterans, though general manager Joe Sakic said Wednesday he expected him to do so.

Duchene was the only player under contract who didn't take part in voluntary practices last week -- he skated in the Toronto area -- and didn't participate in the Avalanche's annual charity golf tournament on Tuesday.

Coach Jared Bednar, beginning his second season with Colorado, said he planned to talk to Duchene to see what he's thinking.

Video: The guys talk about the Matt Duchene trade situation

"For me, he's here," Bednar said. "I think Matt's a prideful guy. I haven't had a chance to speak with him this morning. I wouldn't go as far to say that he obviously doesn't want to be here. He's here, he's a prideful guy, a hard-working guy. He's a real good player and I expect he'll come on the ice tomorrow and give it his all, just like he has throughout his career.

"I'm certainly going to talk to him. He's here, he's part of our team, he's a big part of our team right now. Like everyone else, we need everyone pulling the rope in the same direction. I'm confident that he's going to come in and work hard, just like everybody else."

After scoring an NHL career-high 30 goals in 2015-16, Duchene had 18 goals last season, three in the final 39 games. He had 41 points and was minus-34 in 77 games, his worst statistical season since 2011-12, when he had 28 points (14 goals, 14 assists) in 58 games. He has scored at least 20 goals in five of his eight seasons, all with the Avalanche, who selected him with the No. 3 pick in the 2009 NHL Draft. He has 418 points (174 goals, 244 assists) in 572 NHL games.

The Avalanche had 22 wins and 48 points last season, fewest in the NHL, and missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the third consecutive season.

"I can't speak for Matt's mindset," Bednar said. "I know he was dealing with some things. I spoke to him at the end of the year, and I know it was a tough finish for him. I know things weighed on his mind. I'm on his side. We're all in this together. I think that organizationally we want what's best for Matt.

"It's up to him to get his mind ready to come in here and compete for this team. I'm confident he'll do that. I'm going to talk to him, our staff's going to talk to him, the same as every other player we have here. Again, he's here and we're looking forward and excited to get the season going. He's a great player. For me as a coach, he's here and I'm ready to go. I'm sure he will be too."

Video: 31 in 31: Colorado Avalanche 2017-18 season preview

Forward Gabriel Landeskog, the Colorado captain, said he was never concerned about whether Duchene would report Thursday.

"I've had some conversations with him over the time, and he just wanted to skate and train up in Toronto and get ready there," Landeskog said. "He was here when he had to be, so it's all good and we're ready to get going. Absolutely he's one of our best players, so yeah, I'm happy he's here."

Defenseman Tyson Barrie said, "It's a tough situation, but he's here, and he's here for us. We need him, and as of right now he's part of the Avalanche, and going forward he's going to be. It's nice to have him back. He's a heck of a player, so it's nice to have him here."

Defenseman Nikita Zadorov, a restricted free agent, is unsigned and isn't listed on the 55-player training camp roster.

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