As many people on this site already know, I am a huge believer than Matt Duchene needs to be a Canuck. I have made a thread about what I would think to get him, which this topic has been discussed at length. I have my reason's on why we could acquire him. If you want to check it out, please do. But anyway, here is my top 10 reason'swhy Matt Duchene would be perfect for our team and Franchise and why JB should be aggressively pursuing him.
Reason #1) Take Pressure Of The Sedins (Especially Henrik): Henrik is showing he can't exactly handle top line minutes anywhere. He needs someone to help share the load/take over and let the Sedins go into a 2nd line and PP specialist role. Duchene with 2 good line-mates could do that, making the Sedins better. A producing Sedin twins on the second line could propel this team much further than I think a lot of people think. They just need to be put in a good situation. Matt Duchene is a player who won't be the best number 1 center, or honestly even top 10, or maybe top 15, but he would be the best center and offensive player on this team. He's not top tier, but he's still a worthy number 1 center, who given the right linemates, could be dominant. Duchene and Henrik bounce off as the 1-2 punch next season, and Horvat soon after, (given if they resign and not retire.)
Reason #2) Bo Horvat's Player Development: Duchene can bounce off of Henrik Sedin next season, or in the short term, but I think we all know we have to look longterm. Bo Horvat is the future captain, and a future bonafide top 6 two-way impact center in this league. I see him turning into a player similar to Ryan O'Reilly, which would be fantastic. Even so, he needs an offensive minded center to bounce off of and work with. Kind of like he did with Max Domi in London. (Can we get him too please??) Don't put too much weight on the kids shoulders. he needs help at the center position. Duchene-Horvat can be the 1-2 punch combo of the Canucks for a long time, and I'm fine with that. Much more fine than drafting a center, and waiting for him to catch up to Bo's level. I would rather have Duchene-Horvat for the next few years or possibly the next 5-8, while we look for another stud center to catch up and develop.
Reason #3) Loui Eriksson's Offensive Production: Loui Eriksson simply has not been able to get the job done with the Sedins. Maybe when they were younger and closer to their prime, but not anymore. The Sedins now need a speedy forechecking, back-checking, grinding winger with skill. ( I say we mold Jake Virtanen into just that. During the offseason, show him some Jannik Hansen footage and tell him to do that. Use that speed and size on the PK. The rest of the game will come.) Still, Eriksson is signed with a no movement clause for a long time. We need to find a way to get some production out of him. Right now he's playing, and producing alright, but we don't need alright. We need him to become the potential 30 goal scoring two-way force we signed him to be. Duchene can get him back on track and get him different looks than Hank. (I also say add Brandon Sutter to that line as a two-way presence, and boom, you got yourself a pretty good first line, top 6 for the Sedins, and top 9 for Horvat and Baertschi) Duchene is the number 1 center with Eriksson on the left and getting PP minutes, and Brandon Sutter on the right getting PK minutes.
Reason #4) He Can Join The Core Brandon Sutter Style: He's 26. That is the perfect age to reach a compromise for the owners, and the fans. He's old enough and reaching his prime, so he can help this team now. Next season he will help make us a playoff team and help develop that winning culture we want to surround our already young guns around and about to come in. Yet, like Brandon Sutter, our 'foundational piece,' he is young enough that he could potentially be part of this team for another 6-10 years if he resigns. (He will be expensive though... He has all the leverage and could go anywhere to any team, and any contender in 2 seasons after this.) But still, perfect age where he ends up elevating the whole Franchise and all of our young guys with it, with a winning atmosphere. Resign him to the core long term and then start focusing on drafting and developing young guys. Which brings me to my next point.
Reason #5) He Would Likely Re-Sign Here After 2 Years: I think he would definitely resign here. In Colorado he is just another top 6 offensive producer. He's not even on the first line in Colorado, and after they get first overall, he may be the third best center. I highly doubt Duchene resigns. Why would he. He is the kind of player who wants to be the man, the go to guy, the number 1 center of a team. It's just his personality. And he also likes to win, given why he has told the Avalanche he is open to a trade. Here in Vancouver, he get's all of that. We have not been blessed with Colorado's top picks in recent times, so Duchene would slot in as our top offensive player and number 1 overall offensive threat until we can draft/develop another. On top of that, once the Sedins have some pressure taken off of them and don't have to play first line, I think we would be able to become a playoff team. That's a situation he would love, especially with young guys on the come up. He gets to be the guy brought in who finally balanced the team, and made the Canucks a playoff team, as well as a leader to the young guys coming up, and most importantly, the go to guy of the forward core where we build around him. Why not resign?
Reason #6) He Can Run The Point And QB The PP: I have seen a number of Avs games, as I have many Avs fans randomly. An interesting thing about Matt Duchene is when it comes to the PP, he can play from anywhere, including the high point. The Sedins are more effective at cycling down low and on the corner wall, and Stecher is showing he can be a force from the point. I say put Eriksson back on with the Sedins, and put Duchene at the point with Stecher. The offensive firepower could really get the PP going again. They would be susceptible to SHGs given Duchene and Stecher are on the back, but that would be a mean PP. Sedin Sedin Eriksson up front, Duchene and Stecher on the back. That's scary... He is also a guy that can add some needed speed which is so very helpful with all the open ice. He can really light up a highlight reel if given the green light. Get the Sedins and Eriksson going again on the PP, and the team will be dangerous.
Reason #7) More Appealing Spot For UFAs: Adding a player like Matt Duchene would be great for trying to sign UFAs. UFAs like franchises with a good young future, but what most of them like more are teams with a bunch of players right about to do well. Players that don't still need to develop, but are recently bursting onto the scene. Duchene isn't recent, but he shows that Vancouver is a team that is here, ready to compete, and can be a legitimate destination for a free agent. (My dream is Evander Kane cleans his act up and signs here in a couple years. That team could be dangerous...) You would have to also make sure he resigns after his contract is up, but that is already a priority if you ask me. He also gives us more leverage in contract talks among others, being that we have a high profile scorer already here.
Reason #8) He's Another Face-off Specialist: Matt Duchene is a career above 50% faceoff percentage. About 51% or 52% or so. However, last season he was a 57.9 and this season he is a shocking 59.9. The kid knows how to take a draw. Duchene, Sutter, and Horvat would give us 3 legitimate face-off beasts. He's honestly not a bad defensive player, just nothing spectacular. However, when it comes to the draw, he is spectacular. Teach Bo some of your tricks too. But still, the whole teams possession will get much better with 3 players who can win draws reliably.
Reason #9) Regain Interest and Popularity Among Fans: This is one for the owners mostly. But one reason why there is such a rift, is fans want to focus on drafting and developing new players, but the owners don't want to lose money. We've already seen hits about the financial loss they have been losing in viewership etc. Going and getting a guy like Duchene would help rejuvenate the fanbase and keep the owners happy so they stop budding out of JB's business and let him do his job. (They would probably drool over the possible Duchene jersey sales alone...) And not only even in the province, but all over the country and the league. I'm so annoyed with how much of a joke the Canucks have become. People just don't respect us like they used too. I want to get that respect back. The Canucks never go away. Duchene will get people talking, buzz going, and then when we hit the playoffs, we're right back in it. He can also be a human highlight reel at times. That's always good for getting views.
Reason #10) Our Future Core is Largely Already Set: This is one where I know I am going to get massive disagreement on. But people, all over the league, including here, think we are in a much worse position than we are. We have a lot of our future assembled already from prospects that have and are likely to make it through the rough. Of the forwards: Horvat, Baertschi, Virtanen, Boeser. That's 4 forwards that are about to be on the team 22 or younger. You can't have your entire team be youth. We need a guy around their prime like Sutter (or Hansen) to help lead the way. Eriksson will likely be here for a long time, and maybe the Sedins too. On the defence: Hutton, Gudbranson, Stecher, Tryamkin, with Juolevi coming in soon. Edler and Tanev (or Sbisa) are the only true vets leading the way. You can't have your team be all youth even if they're all good players. The Oilers taught us that lesson. Duchene is the perfect piece to join the core, and become a leader. In fact, I would say Duchene would be more important than adding another first or young prospect. We need a winning culture here for our young guns.
Imagine this forward lineup going into next season. I Imagine pretty much any deal would require Markus Granlund going back the other way as a consolation piece, and I assume Jannik Hansen will be taken in the expansion. This would likely be the team roughly given Virtanen and Boeser join the club next season, and we sign no forward UFAS, but you get the point. It would likely look like this roughly)
Our Forward Core
Loui Eriksson - Matt Duchene - Brandon Sutter
Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Jake Virtanen
Sven Baertschi - Bo Horvat - Brock Boeser
Reid Boucher - Brendan Gaunce - Derek Dorsett
Every player is put in a position where they can succeed. It's a stable core that has a good mix of
- Young guns (24 and under) : Horvat, Boeser, Virtanen, Baertschi, Gaunce, Boucher.
- Prime age (25 through 30): Duchene, Sutter, Dorsett (Baertschi and Boucher will be here soon and Horvat is already mentally there)
- Veteran leaguers (31 and older): Daniel, Henrik, Eriksson
- Current Lockeroom Leaders: Henrik (C), Daniel, Sutter, Horvat, Eriksson
- Next Gen Lockeroom Leaders: Horvat (C), Sutter, Duchene, Eriksson, Boeser
Duchene puts the whole team in balance and could bring much more to this franchise than a lot of people realize. This is a team that by an large can be the Vancouver Canucks for at least 3 or more seasons while we restock our prospect cupboard. The Sedins would likely resign short deals to have 1 or 2 more cup runs with the new core as well as pass on their leadership to the next generation. Once the Sedins have regressed to third line PP specialist players, Horvat, Baertschi, and Boeser will be becoming a bonafide second line in the league and our new leaders will step up. We don't have many high profile top prospects in our cupboard other than Juolevi and Demko, but with a set team, we can stand pat and use JB to focus his energy on scouting and drafting. If I'm JB, I pursue Matt Duchene aggressively.