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The Nashville Predators don’t, in fact, need Matt Duchene

The Duchene-to-Nashville rumors just won’t die

NHL: Nashville Predators at Colorado Avalanche Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Twitter-verse, and message boards everywhere, blew up last week when - according to French website DansLesCoulisses - the Colorado Avalanche turned down a rumored trade offer from the Nashville Predators for center Matt Duchene.

The Predators were rumored to have offered defenseman Samuel Girard – to which the Avalanche surely gave an emphatic no.

I will just preface this by saying I am not opposed to seeing Matt Duchene as a member of the Nashville Predators. However, they do not need Matt Duchene.

The asking price for Duchene is believed to be a young defenseman, a top prospect, and first-round draft pick. This price is far too steep for Nashville. They would have to rip apart their defensive core, because Duchene would cost them one of Mattias Ekholm or Ryan Ellis. Nashville simply cannot afford to lose either right now given that P.K. Subban, Roman Josi, Ryan Ellis, and Tony Bitetto have all missed significant time at one point or another this year.

Both Ekholm and Ellis are just 26, and coming off years where they set career-highs in goals, assists, points and plus/minus. Ellis has thrived on the top defensive pairing - whether it be with Roman Josi or Matt Irwin. Ekholm is finally getting some regular playing time with P.K. Subban after he missed a significant part of the season with an upper-body injury.

The prospect part of the package won’t hurt nearly as badly as losing an NHL defenseman. Although, if you are a fan of Nashville, you better be ready to say goodbye to one of Dante Fabbro, Samuel Girard, or Alexandre Carrier.

Fabbro, the 17th overall pick last year, has four goals and 11 points in 24 games at Boston University. He did play for silver medal-winning Canada in the World Juniors earlier this year.

Girard, the Preds second round pick in 2016, has slightly more offensive upside than Fabbro. He has six goals and 50 assists for the Shawinigan Cataractes, and leads the QMJHL in points by a defenseman with 56. He caught they eye of many during Preds Development Camp in June of last year, when his offensive prowess and speed impressed all in attendance.

Carrier has five goals and 20 assists for the Milwaukee Admirals this year. He was also one of two Admirals named to the AHL All-Star team – Juuse Saros was the other.

The first-round pick is not so concerning as David Poile has shown no hesitancy in the past to trade a first-rounder to acquire anyone he deems essential to helping the Preds in the playoffs.

However, the thought of jettisoning either Ekholm or Ellis, coupled with either Fabbro, Girard, or Carrier should not even be a thought crossing the minds of the Preds brass currently. It is not in the best interest of the Predators to put a gaping hole in the defense, to add another center with similar numbers to Mike Fisher.

2016-17 Stats

Matt Duchene

15 goals, 17 assists, 32 points, -14 rating, 61 faceoff percent

Mike Fisher

12 goals, 18 assists, 30 points, -1 rating, 55 faceoff percent

The reason the Ryan Johansen for Seth Jones trade worked for both Nashville and Columbus, was because each team dealt from a position of strength to fill a position of weakness. Losing Ekholm or Ellis makes this team weaker, regardless of how many goals Matt Duchene scores.

What the Predators need is for the players they have already traded for - Johansen, Subban, Neal, - to step up and play better.