Five Years Later: Revisiting the Matt Duchene Trade by the Columbus Blue Jackets

The Blue Jackets were buyers at the 2019 Trade Deadline. They went out and got the biggest prize on the market: Ottawa center Matt Duchene. Five years later, let's take a look at the fallout from one of the biggest deadline trades in franchise history.

Boston Bruins v Columbus Blue Jackets - Game Three
Boston Bruins v Columbus Blue Jackets - Game Three / Kirk Irwin/GettyImages
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The moment the Jackets traded for Matt Duchene, they landed arguably the most talented center the team ever had. Expectedly, he did not come cheap.


At the time of the trade, a lot of us thought Vitaly Abramov and Jonathan Davidsson were important pieces of the future in Columbus. So including them along with (potentially) two first round picks was certainly a lofty expense.

I think the plan for the Jackets was to try to keep both Panarin and Bobrovsky. Adding Duchene would hopefully sway them both - and they gave themselves an out in case they could not sign him; by making that 2020 1st round pick conditional on him signing an extension.

In hindsight, this deal was an absolute win for the Blue Jackets. I don't see how you can look at it any other way.

Duchene only played 33 games in Columbus (10 of those in the playoffs); but his acquisition helped the team get over the hump and earn their first playoff series win. He scored 10 points in those 10 playoff games, and was certainly a difference maker here.

That 2019 first round sweep of the Tampa Bay Lightning still remains the most exciting point in the history of this franchise. And in the end, this wasn't all that expensive of a trade.

Abramov and Davidsson both flared out, never reaching NHL potential. The two combined for just 11 games with the Ottawa Senators over the next three seasons, before both returned to Europe to continue their careers overseas.

The 1st round pick in this deal, Lassi Thomson, has only made it into the Ottawa lineup for 18 games in his career. It's still possible that he could become an NHL player; but it doesn't look like the kind of pick that will haunt the Jackets for years.

The Jackets gave up three pieces that have played in a combined 29 games - for 33 games of Matt Duchene.

It's even pretty hard to find any players taken soon after him, who I can look at and say "man, I wish we had kept that pick and drafted him". If ever there were a year to deal a mid/late first round pick, 2019 was a solid choice.

Even better, by not signing Duchene beyond that 2019 season, the Jackets retained their 2020 1st rounder - which they used to select Yegor Chinakhov.

Looking back on history, this deal was the absolute correct move for the Blue Jackets to make. By pushing his chips into the table, Kekalainen put this team into position to win a Stanley Cup. This is the only time in our history that we can say that.

Now, if we can just go back and figure out how to solve Tuukka Rask...