Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene remains available via trade, but general manager Joe Sakic told The Denver Post on Thursday he expects Duchene to be at training camp.
“I will be listening to offers,” Sakic said. “Right now it’s quiet on all fronts. But I’ll listen to offers on how we can get better. I’ll never name names, but I’ll sit there and if something makes sense for the way we want to go with our team, we’ll really look at that.”
Duchene, 26, had 41 points (18 goals, 23 assists) in 77 games last season. He was second on the Avalanche in scoring but it was his worst offensive output since he had 28 points in 2011-12. In 2015-16, he scored an NHL career-high 30 goals and has scored at least 20 goals in five of his eight seasons with the Avalanche.
Colorado had the fewest points in the NHL in 2016-17 and missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the third straight season.
The No. 3 pick in the 2009 NHL Draft, Duchene has 418 points (174 goals, 244 assists) in 572 games. He told NHL.com on Aug. 2 that he’s focused on his training and leaving any team association he has out of his workouts.
“Divorced is a strong word, so I wouldn’t say that, but I think I’ve made it so that [any team association] is not part of my identity,” Duchene said. “My identity will be with a team come training camp. I don’t know what team that is yet, but my identity right now needs to be strong in myself and belief in myself.”
The Avalanche also need to work out a contract with defenseman Nikita Zadorov, a restricted free agent. Zadorov, 22, had 10 assists in 56 games last season. He is considering signing with CSKA Moscow of the Kontinental Hockey League, according to the newspaper.
“Both sides agreed to a two-year deal and we just have to figure out the numbers,” Sakic said. “We’ve got our NHL comps that we’re going with, and he’s got to make a decision at some point on what he wants to do.”
Erik Johnson, Tyson Barrie and Mark Barberio are the only NHL defensemen the Avalanche have under contract for this season. Sakic said they plan to give long looks to rookie defensemen Chris Bigras, Andrei Mironov and Anton Lindholm during training camp.
Defenseman Will Butcher, the Hobey Baker Award winner who was selected by the Avalanche in the 2013 NHL Draft, did not sign with Colorado and became a free agent on Wednesday.