NHL free agency: 5 teams who should sign Matt Duchene

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nhl free agency matt duchene

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Matt Duchene is set to become the best center in NHL free agency. Which 5 teams make the most sense for him to sign with?

It’s officially silly season. NHL free agency begins on July 1 and now teams can start meeting with prospective free agents. The market is buzzing with NHL rumors and teams are preparing to spend a ton of money. Matt Duchene is the cream of the crop when it comes to centers, as he’s the best center on the market.

First, let’s look at why he’s the best center on the market. Here’s where Duchene ranks among UFA centers, according to CapFriendly. For the record, they do not count Joe Pavelski as a center – he’s a right wing.

  • Goals – 1st (31)
  • Assists – 1st (39)
  • Points – 1st (70)

Even if you include Pavelski in that group, Duchene would have ranked second in goals, behind Pavelski’s 38. Among UFA forwards, he ranks second in each category, trailing Pavelski in goals and Artemi Panarin in assists and points.

Kevin Hayes just signed a deal worth over $7 million a year and Duchene is objectively better than him. So expect him to sign for a huge amount. Let’s take a look at the five teams who would make the most sense for him.

5. Anaheim Ducks

The Anaheim Ducks are a huge dark horse candidate to sign Duchene. They’re looking to replace Ryan Kesler, whose career might be over. About a month ago, Craig Custance of The Athletic linked the Ducks to Duchene (subscription required).

What’s interesting is Anaheim just bought out Corey Perry. This gives them over $10 million of cap space with 20 players signed. It would be nothing short of unexpected if Duchene signed with the Ducks. Chances are, Anaheim would have to found a taker for Patrick Eaves‘ contract, and he played just seven games last season and has played in just nine over the last two years.

Duchene keeps getting linked to the Ducks, so maybe there’s something there. But I doubt it.

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