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Duchene excited for chance to compete for Stanley Cup with Senators

Asked for trade from Avalanche to avoid being part of another rebuild

by Chris Stevenson / Correspondent

OTTAWA -- Matt Duchene doesn't like what he sees when he looks at his NHL resume.

"I've got eight [Stanley Cup] Playoff games to my name right now and for me that's not where I want to be at this point of my career," Duchene, 26, said Monday. "I only get one shot at this. I only get to play this game for however long my body lets me play it."

That is why Duchene last Christmas asked for a trade from the Colorado Avalanche, a wish that was granted Sunday when he was sent to the Ottawa Senators in a three-team trade that saw Kyle Turris go from Ottawa to the Nashville Predators.


[RELATED: Avalanche need big payoff from trade | Avalanche moving forward after trade | Fantasy Impact ]


The Senators sent goaltender Andrew Hammond, their first-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft and a third-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, and forward Shane Bowers, their first-round pick (No. 28) in the 2017 NHL Draft, to the Avalanche. The Predators sent the Avalanche a second-round pick in the 2018 draft, defenseman Samuel Girard, 19, and forward Vladislav Kamenev, 21.

Duchene, speaking before the Senators flew to Sweden for the 2017 NHL Global Series Games against the Avalanche, said he asked for the trade because he wanted a chance to compete for a championship, something he feels he now can do.

"[The Senators are] a team that was one goal away from the Stanley Cup Final last year," he said. "Had they got there, you never know what happens. That's something that I am dying for, to have the opportunity at that. To be here on this team that I believe a lot in already, it's very special. There's going to be an adjustment process. Hopefully it's short, but I just want to bring my best to this team and be part of a long playoff run. That's the goal."

Duchene had three assists in six games for the Avalanche during a six-game loss against the San Jose Sharks in the 2010 Western Conference Quarterfinals. During the 2014 Western Conference First Round against the Minnesota Wild, he missed the first five games of the seven-game series because of a knee injury. He had three assists in two games but the Avalanche lost in seven.

They haven't been to the playoffs since, and finished last season with 48 points, the fewest in the League.

Video: Duchene reacts to trade as he leaves Barclays Center

Duchene said he wasn't ready to go through another losing season and made the decision to ask Colorado general manager Joe Sakic for a trade last Christmas.

"First of all, asking for a trade out of Colorado from Joe Sakic, who was my idol as a kid, was the hardest thing I ever had to do," Duchene said. "It was something I sat on for a long time. I wanted to see how things panned out, and last year when it happened, it was around the time that I saw the writing on the wall in terms of the future of that franchise in terms of the rest of my contract.

"We had a horrific year last year and I could see a rebuild coming and it was something I'd been a part of multiple times and I just couldn't do it. I wanted to play playoff hockey. I also wanted to give Joe the chance to move me before his back was against the wall so he could do what was best for his team."

Duchene is signed through the end of the 2018-19 season, with an average annual value of $6 million.

General manager Pierre Dorion said Duchene brings the Senators closer to their goal of a championship this season.

"[We acquired] someone who we think makes us a better team right now and we're on the path of trying to win right now," he said. "He's gone up against the best matchup defensemen on other teams. It just gives us a lot of flexibility for us to have two, three, four lines that can go, adding him to our lineup. We all think he's going to have a big impact here.

"There will be an adjustment period … at the same time, we all feel, our hockey department, our coaching staff, our pro scouts, that we're a better hockey team today."

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