Dustin L. Nelson The Hockey Writers
Duchene ‘Open’ to Trade, Varlamov Season Over & More News
You’d need to have never heard of hockey to not know the Avalanche are at least talking about the possibility of trading Matt Duchene (and Gabriel Landeskog). So, it’s not surprising that Duchene is keenly aware of the rumors that crop up daily.
Speaking with Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post, Duchene acknowledged the rumors and said he’s open to idea of being traded.
“I’m open to it,” he said. “When I say open to it, I know it’s part of the business, and it’s something that might happen. I’m not hiding from it. I’m not running away. I’m not banging my head. I understand it’s part of what we deal with as pro athletes.”
He also acknowledged that it’s been a particularly tough year in Denver. “Where we’re at, it’s really hard. It’s tough for everybody. Waking up in the morning, it’s not the same excitement going to the rink,” he said.
Unfortunately, the next bit of news isn’t news that’s going to make the season get any easier.
Varlamov Season Over
Semyon Varlamov won’t have to sit through more of the Avalanche’s abysmal season. He’s having season-ending surgery Tuesday in an attempt to beat groin muscle issues that have plagued him in the past, according to the Denver Post.
“[Varlamov] has been dealing with groin and hip issues for some time now,” said general manager Joe Sakic. “After further evaluation from our team doctors, it was determined that the best road to recovery was surgery. Doing this procedure at this time ensures that Semyon will be fully healthy for the start of training camp.”
The situation has led many to wonder if he’s maybe played his last game with the Avalanche. Varlamov has struggled recently and the Avalanche are reportedly looking into goaltending options. He has two years remaining on a contract that carries a $5.9 million cap hit. Opening up that space by making him available in the expansion draft is a possibility.
Barring a big move in-season — which seems unlikely considering how far in the NHL’s basement the Avs are — they’ll roll with Spencer Martin and Calvin Pickard in net for the rest of a totally lost year. With a record of 13-31-2, the Avs own the NHL’s worst record.
L.A. Tries Atkinson Diet
One of the biggest roster complaints about the 2017 All-Star Game has been the absence of Blue Jackets forward Cam Atkinson. With 24 goals and 46 points in 47 games, he’s having a career year. This could be his one chance to be a part of the All-Star Game.
And he’ll get that chance. He’s going to replace the injured Evgeni Malkin, joining teammates Seth Jones and Sergei Bobrovsky, as well as coach John Tortorella, at the Game in Los Angeles. So, just as everyone predicted before the season started, the Blue Jackets will be the NHL leader with four representatives at the All-Star Game. Everything is going according to plan.
The Devil You Know
A report in the Times Union says the Albany Devils will relocate to Binghamton, New York for the 2017-18 season. The move is expected to be approved by the AHL’s Board of Governors on Sunday.
AHL hockey has been in Albany for seven years. Binghamton itself has a 15-year history of AHL hockey, with the Binghamton Senators, affiliate of the Ottawa Senators, currently calling the city home. However, back in September, the Senators announced plans to move the team to Bellville, Ontario.
For Binghamton fans, it means there will still be hockey there, but at the moment, it’s the end of AHL hockey in Albany, pending approval.
Odds & Ends
– The St. Louis Blues placed center Kyle Brodziak on injured reserve with a right foot injury Thursday morning. In a correlated move, they’ve recalled 2014 second-round draft pick Ivan Barbashev, who will be making his NHL debut if he suits up Thursday against the Wild. Through 44 games with the AHL’s Chicago Wolves he has put up 37 points (19-18-37).
– T.J. Oshie will miss Wednesday’s game to deal with a personal matter, reports The Washington Post.
– Klim Kostin, a Russian prospect projected to be drafted in the first round of the 2017 NHL Draft, will miss the remainder of the KHL season after undergoing shoulder surgery on Jan. 18.
– The World Junior A Challenge is headed back to Canada’s right side. Truro, Nova Scotia will host the 2017 edition from Dec. 10-16. The 2016 tournament featured a ton of future NHL talent including Andrei Svechnikov (2018), Cale Makar (2017) and Kostin (2017).
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