The Nashville Predators have opted to buyout forward Matt Duchene during David Poile’s final day in office as general manager.
Duchene had three years remaining on his current deal but the Predators have decided to move on from a skater who scored 43 goals two seasons ago. Duchene had a modified no-trade clause that was set to kick in tomorrow.
Matt Duchene has 3 years remaining on his contract and therefore the buyout will last 6 years
— CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) June 30, 2023
Trotz said his team is not rebuilding but wants to open some cap space. He clears Duchene off the books to further set his vision for the franchise in motion.
“There will be some pain in this process,” Trotz said on 102.5 The Game after the Draft. “For the last few years, there’s been a really huge section of our fan base that says it’s time to sort of rebuild a little bit.
“But we’re not in a rebuild and we’re not necessarily retooling. I’ve got to do a job now and I’ve wanted to open some cap space. I’ve wanted to set a four-year plan.”
Nashville has an estimated $24 million in cap space to work with this offseason. The Predator’s current cap hit as of Friday is $59 million before free agency begins this weekend.
Duchene could be an attractive asset to a Stanley Cup contender at the right price and provide some creative playmaking ability to score some big goals.
A new door has opened for the Nashville Predators and now that Trotz is at the head of the decision-making process there are unlimited possibilities for adding new personnel.
“I am surprised. I knew they were trying to trade him. I was blown away that it happened,” Elliotte Friedman said on over the 102.5 airwaves after the buyout.
In terms of a trade, the Predators have been trying to move away from Duchene via trade. He was also available to the Seattle Kraken in the expansion draft.
In the 2024-25 season, that combined dead cap hit jumps to a whopping $11.8 million.
One trade that occurred earlier this week was forward Kevin Hayes to the St. Louis Blues. He was a salary dump for the Philadelphia Flyers making $7.1 per season. So why wasn’t there a deal for Nashville moving off of Duchene?
“Duchene is not a bad player. There just aren’t a lot of teams available to do that, Friedman said. “To be honest there just aren’t a lot of teams that could have done that.”
Trotz wants to add “serial winners” to his roster and with free agency beginning there is an open field of players to pick from.
“I think [Nashville] is looking for centers,” Friedman said. “The reason I mention [J.T.] Compher is he is an unrestricted free agent. [Ryan] O’Reilly would definitely fit. He’s 32 years old who has won a cup and was the MVP of the playoffs in 2019 and has a lot of respect around the league.”
The spotlight is now on Trotz as he starts to begin his reign as GM.
Follow Nick Kieser on Twitter: @KieserNick
(Photo of Matt Duchene via John Russell/Nashville Predators)