Matt Duchene is back in Denver with Avalanche “out of respect for my teammates”

The 26-year-old center, who’s rumored to have been on the trading block since last winter, reported to training camp Thursday “out of respect” to Avalanche fans and his teammates.

CHRISTIAN-lighter
Matt Duchene was in attendance Thursday at Avalanche media day. (Isaiah J. Downing/USA Today Sports)

Matt Duchene was in attendance Thursday at Avalanche media day. (Isaiah J. Downing/USA Today Sports)

Matt Duchene is still a member of the Colorado Avalanche with the 2017-18 season rapidly approaching. The 26-year-old center, who’s rumored to have been on the trading block since last winter, reported to training camp Thursday “out of respect” to Avalanche fans and his teammates.

Duchene was not in town for the team’s charity golf tournament and voluntary practices earlier this month. But Duchene showed up Thursday with his team’s Oct. 5 season opener three weeks away — even if he seemed less-than-enthused about it.

“I’m here out of respect for the fans, and I’m here for my teammates,” Duchene said in the video Adrian Dater of BSN Denver shot Thursday. “I had a great summer training, and I’m in good physical condition. So thanks so much. I’ll see you in the next couple days.”

Last year, the Avalanche suffered through one of the worst regular seasons of the new millennium. They finished with 48 points — 21 fewer than the NHL’s second-worst team, the Vancouver Canucks.

Moving Duchene, who’s still under contract for the next two seasons at $6 million and $6.5 million a pop, for defensive help seemed like a logical move. But so far, Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic has yet to pull the trigger.

TSN’s Darren Dreger reported that Duchene plans to attend training camp but “both sides remain committed to trade.”

We’ll see how much longer this uncomfortable situation plays out. Duchene, who’s scored 20-plus regular-season goals five times in eight seasons, said he was open to a trade in January.

Eight months later, he’s still here. How much longer can this go on?

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