NHL Trade Rumors: Buzz Surrounding Josh Anderson, Matt Duchene and More

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistOctober 2, 2017

NEWARK, NJ - MARCH 19: Josh Anderson #34 of the Columbus Blue Jackets skates during the first period against the New Jersey Devils on March 19, 2017 at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images)
Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images

Generally speaking, October isn't exactly a hotbed of NHL trades or trade rumors. Teams have made their offseason moves and are preparing for the start of the season.

But maybe things will be a bit different this October. Below, we'll break down why.

       

Josh Anderson

Columbus Blue Jackets center and restricted free agent Josh Anderson has requested a trade. Well, unless he hasn't.

Wait, what?

Last Thursday, Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet reported that Anderson had requested to be traded. And the team's general manager denied that report almost immediately.

"No trade request," Columbus general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said in a text to Aaron Portzline of The Athletic. "We are hoping (Anderson) will sign soon and continue playing in the National Hockey League."

Anderson's agent, Darren Ferris, was less forthcoming.

"I can't comment at this time on our negotiations or any speculation made on the negotiations," Ferris texted Portzline. "They are ongoing and (we) would hope to have a resolution soon."

Finally, Portzline noted that the player and team are off by $150,000 on a potential three-year deal.

So what's going on here? Pierre LeBrun broke it down during a radio appearance on Edmonton's TSN 1260 (h/t Chris Nichols of FanRag Sports):

"Well, it's probably semantics. I mean, Kekalainen absolutely strongly denying to me—the GM of the Blue Jackets—that there was a trade request. And I certainly believe him. But at the same time, given the nature of this very difficult negotiation, probably lost in translation is the fact that the player probably wouldn't mind a change of scenery, even if it wasn't made that officially, right.

"And it's interesting, of course, if you take it in the global context of the fact that we know that the Blue Jackets have had numerous trade discussions with the Colorado Avalanche about Matt Duchene. I don't think that the Blue Jackets would want to have Anderson in that deal, I think they want to keep Josh Anderson, but make of that what you will I guess, given all the things that we know. All I can tell you is that Kekalainen told me that they're still intent on trying to sign him and keeping him."

As Lebrun noted, the Jackets feel they hold the leverage in these talks and Anderson's camp feels he deserves a raise and that there's enough of a precedent around the league for him to receive one. So any talk of a trade request could be a leverage play.

Of course, as LeBrun said, he may simply want a change of scenery.

Regardless, the Blue Jackets have plenty of motivation to smooth things over. The 23-year-old posted 17 goals for the team last year and showed marked improvement and plenty of upside. Meanwhile, NHL teams likely have Anderson on their radar if they believe he's attempting to push his way out of Columbus.

And so the plot thickens. Unless it hasn't. The only certainty in Columbus at this point is that the team and Anderson most certainly aren't on the same page.

              

Matt Duchene

CALGARY, AB - MARCH 27: Matt Duchene #9 of the Colorado Avalanche in action against the Calgary Flames during an NHL game at Scotiabank Saddledome on March 27, 2017 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)
Derek Leung/Getty Images

Duchene has seemingly been on the trade block for a decade. But Friedman said during an interview on Edmonton's 630 CHED (h/t Nichols) that he doesn't believe Colorado will move him for the sake of moving him, rather holding out until they get a deal they are pleased with.

Friedman did note the Blue Jackets, Nashville Predators, Calgary Flames or Anaheim Ducks could make the plunge to acquire Duchene's services, however.

TSN's Darren Dreger also weighed in on Edmonton's TSN 1260, per Nichols, citing interest from the Ottawa Senators while mentioning the Vancouver Canucks and Montreal Canadiens as potential suitors.

Duchene, 26, has notched 174 goals and 418 points in eight seasons, scoring 20 or more goals in a season five times and 30 goals in the 2015-16 campaign. His 18 goals and 41 points in 2016-17 added up to one of the least productive seasons of his career, however, and trade rumors have circled around him for nearly a year.

Duchene has declined to address his future with Colorado, however. He said in September, per Mike Chambers of the Denver Post:

"I'm not going to predict the future on my longevity here. I'm day by day. I'm just enjoying playing hockey. A lot got blown out of proportion. I said what I wanted to say then. Nothing's changed since Thursday. I'm here to get better, I'm here for those reasons."

Where he'll play hockey was one of the biggest storylines of the offseason, and it remains one of the preseason's most relevant stories.

               

A Busy Autumn on the Trade Market?

Anderson and Duchene may be traded, but even if they aren't, we could be in store for a busy offseason.

LeBrun certainly thinks so, as he said during an interview on Montreal's TSN 690 (h/t Nichols):

"I was talking to a GM today and we were saying this might be more active a trade year than last season because the Vegas expansion process kind of suffocated the trade market last year—during the season, that is. Obviously we had fireworks in the offseason. But before the trade deadline, not quite as crazy a year. And now teams don't have to worry about that. It's something they don't have to sweat. I think it'll liberate some teams."

Wouldn't that be fun?

Nothing shakes things up like a slew of major trades. Just ask NBA fans. If NHL teams truly feel liberated with Vegas now in the league, making moves early rather than later could become this season's trend, especially with quality players like Duchene definitely available and Anderson potentially on the market.

Who's ready for some deals?

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