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Instant Analysis: Preds Bring Matt Duchene to Music City

Nashville's Acquisition of Elite Centerman is Perfect Fit for All Parties

by Brooks Bratten @brooksbratten / Senior Communications & Content Coordinator

He describes himself as a "Wannabe Country Singer" in his Twitter bio, but Matt Duchene is also an elite hockey player - and he's coming to Music City, USA.

The Predators signed the highly skilled centerman to a seven-year, $56 million contract on Monday afternoon as the NHL's free agency period opened. It's arguably the biggest move Preds General Manager David Poile has ever made in free agency, and after years of being on Nashville's radar, Duchene will be moving to Tennessee.

"Our objective this offseason was to bolster our offense, and signing Matt Duchene gives us another dynamic goal-scoring, playmaking center," Poile said. "We are excited to add his skill and experience to our top-six forwards and look forward to the next seven years of Matt and his family in Smashville. Matt's love of country music and passion for the city of Nashville make this partnership a perfect fit."

A native of Haliburton, Ontario, Duchene met with the Predators last week in Nashville and confirmed what he already knew - this is exactly where he wants to be.

So, why did the Predators covet the two-time NHL All-Star, and what does the deal mean for the franchise? Here's some instant analysis on Nashville's newest acquisition.

Prime Time:

The numbers don't lie, and the 28-year-old Duchene is in the prime of his career. He split the 2018-19 season between the Ottawa Senators and Columbus Blue Jackets, while posting 31 goals and 70 points in 73 games - the best statistics over his 10 years in the League.

Duchene would have led the 2018-19 Predators in scoring by six points and would have slotted second in goals behind only Viktor Arvidsson. He instantly becomes one of Nashville's top forwards and will further complement the talent the Preds have assembled up front. Poile and his team were looking for an offensive upgrade this summer, and this is about as good as it gets.

Video: Top goals for Matt Duchene during 2018-19 season

Center Drive:

Nashville's depth up the middle has drastically improved over the past two years, but it's never been better than it is today. As it stands now, Duchene, Ryan Johansen, Kyle Turris, Nick Bonino, Colton Sissons and Calle Jarnkrok can all play the position and do so effectively.

Even better, Duchene and Johansen give the Predators a one-two punch in the middle of the ice that not many NHL clubs can compete with. As the arms race for the Western Conference - and more specifically, the Central Division - continues to escalate, the Preds have undoubtedly made themselves harder to handle.

Gone Country:

Duchene has already strummed a six string alongside some of country music's best, and now there's a chance he'll be neighbors with at least a few.

For a man whose dog is named Paisley - after country star and Preds fan Brad Paisley - there's not a better place to be than Nashville. Duchene has already shared a stage with the likes of Thomas Rhett, Lee Brice, Jake Owen and Rhett Butler, and that list is sure to grow in the years to come.

Music is intertwined with hockey in this city like nowhere else on earth, and for Duchene, it's simply a perfect fit.

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