By Darren Lum
Haliburton’s Matt Duchene has found a new NHL home after a short stint with the Columbus Blue Jackets following the start to the season with the Ottawa Senators.
Duchene signed a seven-year deal worth $56 million on Canada Day joining the Nashville Predators.
While speaking with the Nashville media via conference call Duchene said his decision came from meeting with the team’s head coach Peter Laviolette who helped him see opportunities to win and a reason to sign with the Predators.
“When we started talking what was supposed to be probably a 10-minute conversation turned into 40 to 45 minutes because we’re just so into hockey talk” Duchene said of his chat with Laviolette. “I love to debate ideas and talk about things and we could not have been more on the same page. He’s a guy who wants to score more goals and as an offensive guy that makes you drool a little bit when you hear your coach say that. It was awesome. As a guy who wants to play a get up and go a fast style make plays be creative that kind of thing that was a huge draw for me.”
After the signing Duchene also spoke with hosts of the Tim and Sid Show on Sportsnet about meeting with the Montreal Canadiens. He said there were plenty of sentimental reasons to consider the Habs.
With French Canadian ancestry and his father and grandfather cheering for the Canadiens when Matt was growing up his childhood favourite hockey player was Maurice “the Rocket” Richard (he used to wear No. 9 which was Richard’s number) and his favourite book was the Hockey Sweater.
Ultimately Duchene chose Nashville.
The lover of country music and the city of Nashville has been regularly linked to rumours about the mutual interest between him and the Preds.
Last season Duchene tallied 60 points including 31 goals for the Ottawa Senators and the Columbus Blue Jackets. After 727 career NHL games he has amassed 547 points (232 goals and 315 assists).
It’s reported he said “You’ve got to do the right thing for your career and your family and Nashville was that for us.”
On Twitter Duchene posted “Country roads take us home to the place we belong! Ash Beau Paisley and I couldn’t be more excited to be joining the @predsnhl family! Can’t wait to get started see you soon.”