McKenzie: Duchene not expected to play again for Senators

We are finally just days away - or less - from what should be a looming Matt Duchene trade.

Bob McKenzie had a Wednesday evening TV hit on NBCSN.

The Insider was asked about reports that Duchene would be held out of Thursday’s Senators tilt, with Duchene saying today he was preparing as if he were to play that night.

“I don’t know that he’s preparing that hard,” smiled McKenzie. “He was skating on a fourth line in practice today. There’s every reason to believe that Matt Duchene will be held out by the Ottawa Senators in their game on Thursday against the New Jersey Devils to protect the asset. Which is obvious at this time of year when you’ve got a player who could fetch a pretty significant return on the rental market, you don’t want that player going out and getting injured.

“So at this point in time, we do believe that Matt Duchene is not expected to play again for the Ottawa Senators. Never say never, I guess, but doesn’t look to me like he’ll play again for the Senators and will most likely be traded before Monday’s deadline.

“Now, who would be interested - the Nashville Predators would be interested, I would think. I think Matt Duchene would be interested in going to Nashville; not just on a short term either, maybe longer term. The Columbus Blue Jackets are a team that might look favorably on getting a guy like Matt Duchene, and they’re kind of balancing the Artemi Panarin ball that we talked about earlier.

“So we’ll keep an eye on the developing situation with Matt Duchene and the Ottawa Senators.”

Duchene is in the final season of a five-year, $30 million contract, and he can become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Contract-related info via CapFriendly