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Trade Rumor Season: Islanders targets, Family Ties and Honest Garth

Tavares, Duchene, Eberle, Buchberger, Snow, Friedman, Sting and Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent.

New York Islanders v Colorado Avalanche
Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

‘Tis the season for trade rumors and those little inklings connecting the Islanders and Matt Duchene just won’t go away. The Colorado centerman has been the focus of trade talk going back to last season’s deadline, but he now has competition at the top of the list with Edmonton’s Jordan Eberle. At least, as far as fan desire goes.

On Sportsnet 960 radio out of Calgary today, insider Elliotte Friedman talked about the entire situation and all of the tiny threads that connect both players to the Islanders. Nothing is guaranteed, of course, but Friedman is plugged-in like few other NHL reporters so the smoke might be real.

Via Chris Nichols at FanRag Sports (if we get audio later, we’ll post a link to that, too):

“I believe there’s been fire on Duchene for quite awhile,” said Friedman during a Friday morning radio hit on Calgary’s Sportsnet 960. “Duchene and Tavares share the same agent. And I would think the Islanders are probably looking at Tavares and saying, ‘How would you feel about this?’ So I do think the Islanders and Duchene has been a conversation/is a conversation for quite some time.

In a report from February, Arthur Staple said that talks between GMs Garth Snow and Joe Sakic on a trade for Duchene extended back to the previous November. Sure sounds like “quite awhile” to me. The hold up is probably settling on a price, which at last check was pretty steep. Where Sakic and Snow are now in terms of what they are willing to exchange isn’t known, and Friedman doesn’t speculate.

We’ve talked about Tavares (and apparently Duchene’s) agent, Pat Brisson, extensively in our John Tavares Contract Encyclopedia. At various points throughout the year, Brisson appears to have been offered a job with the Islanders, in addition to negotiating on behalf of their captain.

So, who else then? What about Jordan Eberle, who’s become the latest embodiment of The Dark Knight philosophy of either dying a hero or living long enough to become the villain. It seems he and the Oilers are ready to part company, but a trip to Brooklyn might not be a slam dunk, as Friedman spitballs.

“The one thing I wonder about Eberle is Kelly Buchberger is going to the Islanders, and I know they butted heads at times when they were both in Edmonton. So I don’t know what that means.


“But I definitely think there’s interest in Eberle. I just don’t know about the whole Buchberger thing. I’m not ripping Kelly Buchberger or anything, I’m just saying that I know they butted heads, so I don’t know how they’d feel about each other in New York.”

In fairness, “butting heads” could mean anything from “I can’t work with this asshole” to one guy being a die hard fan of The Police and another preferring solo Sting only (why someone would go Sting only, I have no idea. But it’s a big world out there). Buchberger is expected to join the Islanders and his former teammate Doug Weight when his contract with the Oilers runs out on July 1. He’s been Edmonton’s manager of player personnel after spending six years as an assistant coach.

Both Eberle and Duchene carry six million cap hits and have two years remaining before unrestricted free agency.

Finally, Friedman tosses in one last nugget, perhaps aimed at those of us inside the infinite echo chamber in desperate need of his 30 Thoughts columns and other information to fuel the sometimes waning fires of our fandom.

“I’ve got to tell you, I like dealing with Garth too. He never lies. In my dealings with him he has never lied to me, so I’ve always got time for dealing with him.”

Elliotte, if you’re reading this: Hello, and thanks for all you do.