NEW YORK - The Colorado Avalanche pulled off a blockbuster trade midgame Sunday night, sending center Matt Duchene to the Ottawa Senators in a three-team deal that also involved the Nashville Predators.
The trade was finalized as the visiting Avalanche battled the New York Islanders at Barclays Center, a game Colorado lost 6-4.
"I kind of knew before they told me, I saw them talking on the bench," Duchene said as he left Barclays Center during the second period. "I'll have a good story for people one day."
Duchene and Senators center Kyle Turris, who was dealt to the Predators, were the biggest names among the six players included in the trade.
Duchene, 26, is a speedy former 30-goal scorer coming off a down year (18 goals, 41 points). In 14 games for Colorado this season, he had four goals and six assists. The third overall pick in the 2009 draft ranks 10th in franchise history with 428 points (178 goals, 250 assists) in 585 career contests. He also ranks seventh in franchise history in goals and 10th in assists.
The 28-year-old Turris, a pending unrestricted free agent, agreed to a six-year, $36 million extension with Nashville as part of the deal. Turris has three goals and nine points in 11 games this season. He scored a career-high 27 goals last season.
The Avalanche received the biggest haul, getting back two players apiece from the Senators and Predators as well as three picks. Ottawa sent center Shane Bowers, goalie Andrew Hammond, a protected first-round pick in 2018, and a third-round pick in 2019 to Colorado, which also acquired defenseman Samuel Girard and rookie left winger Vladislav Kamenev as well as second-round pick in 2018 from Nashville.
If Ottawa's 2018 first-round pick is in the top 10, the Senators have the option to hold it and give the Avalanche their 2019 top pick, but they would be required to do so, regardless of its spot in the order.
"We feel this deal brings us some top prospects as well as some high draft picks as we continue to build for both the short and long-term future," Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic said in a statement. "We've said all along that we wanted to be patient and wait for the right deal, and this is the opportunity we feel is best for the organization."
Duchene was active for Sunday's game against the Islanders but skated off the ice, along with injured left winger Blake Comeau, with 10:37 left in the first period.
The trade caps a long period of rumors and speculation surrounding Duchene, who has been on the block for months as the Avalanche looked to rebuild by dealing the nine-year veteran whose contract expires at the end of next season. Colorado entered Sunday 8-5-0 after finishing with just 48 points last season, the fewest by a non-expansion team since 1998-99.
"It's been a while, but we wanted to make sure we had the right deal," Sakic said "I just told (Duchene) be patient, at some point it was going to get done. We're building and want to keep building with youth and we feel like we accomplished that."
Duchene won't have to wait long to face his former team. The Senators will take on the Avalanche in Stockholm, Sweden, on Friday and Saturday.
"Being pulled in a game, then to be playing my first two games against my old team, is going to be pretty strange," Duchene said.
Girard, 19, was a second-round pick of Nashville in 2016. There is a solid chance the puck-mover will slot right onto the Avalanche's blue line.
Kamenev, 21, was a second-round selection of the Predators in 2014. The Orsk, Russia, native has three goals and five assists in 10 games with the AHL Norfolk Admirals this season, ranking second on the team in points and assists.
Bowers, 18, was Ottawa's first selection (first round, 28th overall) in the 2017 draft.
Hammond, 29, has spent the season with the AHL Belleville Senators and has a 2.21 goals-against average and a .925 save percentage. Signed by Ottawa as a free agent in 2013, Hammond has a 27-14-6 record in 55 career NHL games, posting a 2.31 GAA and a .923 save percentage.
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