Here’s what we know: If there has been talk of a trade between the Avalanche and any other team involving Matt Duchene, none of the offers have been good enough for both parties to consummate a deal.

The Avs have a maximum of 153 games left in which to see Duchene as one of their players should they so choose, and that number drops by one for every game he continues to play here. After next season, he’s an unrestricted free agent and based on everything that’s happened in the last 12-18 months regarding his time here, you have to believe the odds would be sky high that he’d go bye-bye if he hadn’t been traded by then.

The Avs can’t let him walk for nothing, of course. A repeat of the Paul Stastny situation from 2014 simply can’t happen. It’s obvious the Avs want a top young established defenseman in return for Duchene, or else a really strong, blue-chip caliber prospect defenseman. Joe Sakic has yet to see an offer he finds acceptable in such a pursuit.

But what if Nikita Zadorov were added to the equation? Wouldn’t it make it a little more palatable for a GM of another team to go to his owner and say, “They just threw in a young, former first-round pick lefty D-man, who is signed at a reasonable contract for the next two years, to the Duchene package. I think we can give up XYZ young D-man now, because Zadorov gives us a little more insurance.”

I’m just askin’ here. I have not heard of any specific, newly offered package of Duchene and Zadorov as part of any existing trade talks. Let me repeat: I haven’t heard of this.

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But I’m just askin’: Doesn’t that make some sense as a possibility now? If Duchene by himself does not get the Avs the kind of young D-man they want and need, then they have to figure something else out to make it happen. Zadorov, it seems to me, could be the magic key that finally cracks open this box.

Zadorov has been a healthy scratch for two straight games now, and there is a possibility of a third Thursday night at home against Carolina. He has been a scratch in three of the first 11 games. It’s clear Jared Bednar doesn’t like something about Big Z’s game right now. We’ve seen flashes of potential stardom. We’ve seen moments when he looks like the biggest badass out there on the ice, with some two-way ability. But we’ve also seen times where he looks too passive for a guy his size, who can make bad decisions with the puck and sometimes looks slow.

Of course. Of course, it would be a risk for the Avs to essentially give up on this guy. There’s no question, he’s got talent and we all know it takes defensemen longer to fully develop at the NHL level, generally speaking.

So, I’m not necessarily advocating Zadorov be dealt as part of a Duchene package. I’m more interested in what you out there think on this. All I know is, the Avs are going to have to trade Duchene before next season’s official deadline. He’s given no indication that he is interested in an extension to stay here, even though the Avs have gotten off to a better-than-expected start and Duchene has mostly played pretty well.

Zadorov might be in the doghouse right now, but he still looks attractive on paper. Some team out there really desperate for offense, who might want Duchene but doesn’t quite want to give up that young D-man, might be talked into it easier if a guy like Z were included. If the Avs don’t see him as part of their long-term future – I mean, he’s not even playing right now – then they have to get something for him too before it’s too late.

This could be the best time.

What say you, Avs fans?

Adrian Dater

Adrian Dater is a staff writer with BSNDenver. He started his journalism career way, way back in 1988 as a proofreader with the Concord Monitor as a kid out of college (Keene State College), and has wended its way since with a 25-year stop at The Denver Post, 20 of which were spent as the beat writer of the Colorado Avalanche, from its inception in 1995. Adrian has also worked as a primary hockey writer with Sports Illustrated, The Sporting News, The Hockey News, Versus.com and Bleacher Report. He is the author of seven sports books, including the best-selling “Blood Feud: Colorado Avalanche v. Detroit Red Wings, The Inside Story of Pro Sports’ Nastiest and Best Rivalry of Its Era” and “100 Things Avalanche Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die”, which was published in October, 2016.

  • rafterman191

    I was thinking about this a few days ago, but how does Zadorov sitting help up the value?

    • Adrian Dater

      Great minds think alike

  • Pat King

    What if they traded both those guys for say… Erik Karlsson (since this is just theoretical). Get another Swede in the locker room…

  • bob_w

    I would say that if Zadorov were added to Duchene in a trade the return would have to skyrocket. If nobody will offer an equitable value for Duchene alone how are they going to give fair value for both? If and when a team becomes desparate enough they will give Sakic what he is asking for Duchene. If Sakic appears to be softening his askng price by throwing in other valuable players such as Zadorov then potential trading partners will try and take advantage. Joe shoud stick to his guns on Duchene’s value. There is no immediate urgency to deal Duchene. Already there are teams that not achieving up to expectations and desparation will follow.

  • wflan

    I think that something like Duchene + a 2nd/3rd would be preferable. I think that the issue with Z is that he’s really difficult to value correctly. Duchene was in the same situation last year when he was in the long slump and I imagine other GMs are risk averse to some extent and wouldn’t be excited about the optics even if Z pays off for them in the long run.

    • Adrian Dater

      I should have mentioned this in the column, but adding Z to a potential trade allows the Avs to also ask for a little more besides a D. Like, say, a serviceable forward

      • aussieavsfan

        The Avs are full of ‘serviceable’ players. That’s why they’re not that good. The last couple games (and the last few years) seems to show that they need better D as opposed to a streaky goal scorer. I like Dutch, and wish this situation never happened (and can’t understand how they messed it up so much it’s come to this), but it seems to me if Compher and Jost come back and play half decent and the Avs have a top four D it would improve the team.

  • Pixelrebirth

    I dont think it looks great to trade the notable defenseman in the last big avs trade for a notable defenseman in a trade for Dutch and Z — that is far too high a price to pay and admits a complete failure on Z, I dont think anyone takes that deal sheerly because it is screaming we dont want Z

  • Paul Hawks

    It’s not a bad idea if the return was a sure fire 1st-line D-man and peripheral pieces. Forward depth is mostly fine, considering a rebuilding team. Between Jost, Compher, and Soderberg it should be fine there for the year. With the D, losing Z, plug in a top shelf guy on the first pair next to Johnson, gives them a better top pair than they have now. There is currently enough depth to fill out those remaining bottom 3 around Barrie with Bigra, Barberio, Lindholm, and Mironov.

    Personally, I’m not too worried about the way the trade looks if it makes the team better in the end. Wins make everything look good. Really the only hangup is getting a team to dump an actual 1st-line D-man young enough to care about. That seems unlikely, but those two guys do possess some good value so maybe it isn’t out of the question with some extra grease to the deal.

  • OCMS

    While Z is struggling and getting scratched, I am hesitant to trade him. We have seen how hard it is to get a hold of a top D-man here in Avs country and trading one away who has the potential to be a top guy only makes the task harder. The reason Sakic can’t get what he wants for Duchene is because he wants defense in return and top D are usually worth more than top forwards. Exhibit A: see the rarity of the straight up Jones for Johanson trade.

    They need to move Duchene because he’s going to sign a UFA contract on July 1, 2019. Giving up on Z to accomplish that is not the answer.

  • Charlie Anderson

    Halloween is over AD, stop trying to scare my pants off by talking about either of these guys leaving. I still think the Duchene situation is the stupidest f*cking thing ever, and it’s a double nightmare if the Avs are going down that Duchene, Stasny, O’Reilly road with Z as well (which right now it looks like they might be). They need to play Z to let him develop and keep him happy, and Kroenke/Sakic need to be taking Duchene out to breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day and on their knees apologizing, gift baskets, whatever until he wants an extension. Why would anyone ever want to let either of those guys go instead of just cultivating their massive potential? Maybe if they felt good about their situation/team they wouldn’t under-perform. I understand the other perspective of “we need to get better play out of these guys or trade them”, but obviously there’s something going on with the Avs management that is bringing out the worst in guys.
    What a mess.