The Columbus Blue Jackets have acquired center Matt Duchene and defenseman Julius Bergman from the Ottawa Senators in exchange for forwards Vitaly Abramov and Jonathan Davidsson, plus conditional first round picks in 2019 and 2020. The 2019 pick is top-3 lottery protected, while the 2020 pick goes to Ottawa if Duchene re-signs in Columbus this offseason.
The Blue Jackets were stuck in limbo this trade deadline with both their two best players, forward Artemi Panarin and goalie Sergei Bobrovsky free agents at the season\’s conclusion, and both have expressed disinterest in re-signing. Panarin is the best pending UFA in the league, but in this trade, the team acquires the 2nd best UFA in Duchene. They also get Bergman, an AHL defenseman. If Columbus doesn\’t win the Stanley Cup, then they\’ll be in danger of losing their best three players AND not having a first round pick in a span of a week.
Duchene, 28, has scored 27 goals and 31 assists for 58 points in 50 games in 2018-19, which is shaping up to be his best career season. But besides this year, his best year was with the Colorado Avalanche in 2013-14, when he scored 23 goals with 47 assists for 70 points in 71 games. In his career for the Sens and Avalanche, Duchene has scored 228 goals and 307 assists for 535 points in 704 games.
Bergman, 23, has six points, all assists, in 33 games for the AHL\’s Belleville Senators this year. Over the two prior seasons for the San Jose Barracuda, Bergman has scored 13 goals and 37 assists for 50 points in 129 games.
After acquiring Duchene from Colorado early last season, costing them top six center Kyle Turris, the year before\’s first round pick in Shane Bowers and more, including their first round pick this year, that could be the 1st overall pick, the Sens fell to the bottom of the league. Now, they are scrambling to acquire assets for their big three rentals. Duchene is the biggest, supplemented by Mark Stone and Ryan Dzingel. Defenseman Cody Ceci could go too. In this trade, they get back a first for this year, possibly a first for next year, and two prospects. Abramov is the better one, and younger, plus he\’s playing in the AHL. Davidsson is currently overseas. They give up their best player, and Bergman, an AHL prospect who they acquired this offseason for Mike Hoffman.
Abramov, 20, has scored 12 goals and 10 assists for 22 points in 52 games for the AHL\’s Cleveland Monsters this year, his first full AHL season. Last year, for the QMJHL\’s Victoriaville Tigres, Abramov scored 33 goals and 45 assists for 78 points in 40 games. In parts of three seasons for the QMJHL\’s Gatineau Olympiques, Abramov scored 96 goals and 127 assists for 223 points in 145 games.
Davidsson, 21, has scored 10 goals and 10 assists for 20 points in 35 games for Djurgardens IF in the SweHL this year. Last year, he scored 10 goals and 21 assists for 31 points in 52 games for the club.