NHL contract grades: Matt Duchene provides more firepower ahead of Stars

Agreement

Matt Duchene symptoms A one-year contract with an average annual value of $3 million with the Stars.


Duhatschek: Sorry, I couldn’t believe it when I first heard it. This is a great value deal for a Stars team that already has scoring depth.

Think of it from Duchenne’s perspective. At this point in the game, compensation isn’t his highest priority. It is appropriate. For his family. There are similarities in the city. For a chance to win a Stanley Cup championship. And on paper, with apologies to Colorado, the Stars look like the class of the midsection. A great young goalie in Jake Ottinger. A Norris Trophy-caliber defenseman in Miro Heiskanen. The fantastic Top Line is directed by Rube Hinds and features Jason Robertson.

Remember what Taylor Hall said when he first joined the Bruins? He wanted to go to a team where he could fit in and maybe have a chance to win. I see it with Duchenne as well. He could be a quality addition to a team that has a legitimate chance to win the Stanley Cup. At the end of the 2024 season, depending on how things play out, the two sides could extend the relationship (as Boston did with Hall) or they could move on with each other.

Duchene scored 42 goals just two years ago. Bottom line: Dallas doesn’t need to add another premium scoring talent. But they did.

Contract Grade: A+
Quality of fit: B+

Goldman: At this point in his career, Duchene isn’t a breakout star forward. He was not cut out boyBut he certainly could be One of the guys, this is what he will be doing in Dallas. That’s what fits the stars. It’s also true that they don’t have to do much. Since the Predators acquired Duchene, they don’t have to spend anyone to bring him in or increase the revenue to maintain salary. The $3 million cap hit, which means Dallas just signed him, is less than 50 percent of salary retention anyway. And it’s only for one year, versus the three he had left on his contract before the buyout.

Duchene’s last contract was an anchor, and one that few teams could take after the salary cap didn’t grow as expected. The fact that he gets paid like a top-tier center but never really shakes it up at the position hurts things. So it is a new beginning, which should come with different expectations. The Stars buy Duchene for who and what he is at this point in his career.

Duchene hit the second-best rate of his career in 2021-22. Not surprisingly, this has been a tough act to follow (and maintain a high shooting percentage), given that, individually, he didn’t create a high rate of scoring chances last season. He doesn’t have much offensive support around him either. In the best case scenario there is some more attacking potential, perhaps a middle six instead of a top row. It fits what Dallas should be looking for this summer. The first line of product is already there, but everything else is still a bit uneven. Stylistically, Duchenne makes sense as a solution. Outside of the best players, this team doesn’t have enough shooting in transition. Defensively, there are still some flaws, but the Stars’ lineup should help cover that up.

Contract Grade: B+
Quality of fit: B+

(Photo: Harry How/Getty Images)

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