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Trade Coverage

Matt Duchene, Gabriel Landeskog focused on game

Avalanche forwards try to tune out rumors with Trade Deadline approaching

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / NHL.com Senior Writer

NEW YORK -- Colorado Avalanche forwards Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog don't know if they're staying or going. The only thing they can say with certainty is the status quo in Denver can't stay the same considering the results.

"We're going to need some things obviously done, potentially this year and in the offseason to improve this team," Duchene said, "and rightfully so."

Duchene and Landeskog, the two longest-tenured Avalanche forwards, could be moved prior to the NHL Trade Deadline on March 1, which is a little more than two weeks away.

No one, least of all Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic, has outright said one or both of them will be traded before the deadline at 3 p.m. ET, but Duchene and Landeskog have seen and heard their names swirling in trade rumors.

Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman reported last month that Sakic has told teams every Avalanche player except forwards Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen are available, but the prices for Duchene (15 goals, 32 points) and Landeskog (11 goals, 22 points) in particular would be steep.

Video: CHI@COL: Duchene goes coast-to-coast, roofs wrister

It's an uneasy and unsettling feeling Landeskog, the captain who is in his sixth season with Avalanche, and Duchene, in his eighth season, but understandable considering the Avalanche didn't make the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season and are last in the League this season with 32 points (15-36-2).

"Obviously it's not what you want to be a part of, you don't want to see your name in any of those discussions, but at the same time that's the nature of the beast," said Landeskog, who has four years remaining on a contract that carries a $5.571 million salary-cap charge. "When your team is not performing and you're not performing individually that's part of it and you have to accept that I guess. For me, it's just a matter of controlling what I can control. I've said that before. I sound like a broken record, but really that's what it is. I'm just trying to help this team win. I can't control what rumors or articles my name might be floating around in."

Duchene, who has two years and $12 million left on his contract, is trying to take on a similar approach. He said that's easier said than done.

"Yeah, sometimes you wonder where you're going to be tomorrow, where you're going to be next week, where you're going to be in two weeks, where you're going to be in six months," Duchene said. "That's where your head can go sometimes, but once it's gameday, I try to tune that out the best I can. I play for the Colorado Avalanche and I'm going to play as hard as I can."

Landeskog said he let Sakic know of his desire to stay in Colorado to help see the Avalanche out of this mess.

"I've been straightforward from the get go that I want to stay here, I want to figure things out with this team," Landeskog said. "I'm an optimistic guy and I do believe that we have a future in front of us to get to playoffs and get back getting to where this team should be, contending year in and year out. Obviously the last few seasons the results haven't been there so there's going to be consequences, but I want to figure this thing out and I've told him that."

Video: COL@NYR: Landeskog finishes MacKinnon's quick rush

Duchene said his conversations with Sakic have focused more on the team than on his uneasy situation.

"I have so much respect for Joe and if he decides that I need to move it's not something I would ever hold against him," Duchene said. "We have a great relationship and the business side of things won't affect that."

Duchene said he hasn't reached out to any other players he knows who have been in this position before to get advice on how to deal with it. He said he won't do it unless or until he is traded, but even then he said the change might not warrant that type of conversation.

"I might be OK with it, but when I say that I might be OK with it I mean I might be OK with the transition," Duchene said. "It might be an easy transition or it might be difficult, I'm not sure. It's never happened to me before so I have no idea what to expect."

Avalanche coach Jared Bednar is trying to help Duchene and Landeskog through the uncertain time by communicating with them to help them stay focused despite the rumors. He said he talks to Sakic about the potential personnel moves on occasion, but mostly is left to coach the team.

Video: COL@DAL: Duchene cashes in on his own rebound

"We expect it in the position we're in in the standings," Bednar said. "I think our guys are doing a good job handling it to be honest."

Even if they're still in Denver after the deadline passes, Duchene and Landeskog understand that doesn't mean they're out of the woods.

The rumors won't go away unless or until they are traded or Sakic outright says they won't be. Nothing has happened yet so their status quo remains the same -- in limbo.

"That's why we get paid what we do," Duchene said. "We're lucky to do what we do in terms of this game, but there are some other parts that come with it and that's the business side. That comes with the territory."

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