Matt Duchene said he’s more focused on the start of the season with the Ottawa Senators that he is with his contract.
Duchene, 27, is in the final season of a five-year contract he signed as a member of the Colorado Avalanche on July 18, 2013 and can become an unrestricted free agent after this season. He’s been eligible to sign a contract extension since July 1.
“I’m concerned about having a good start to the season,” Duchene told reporters Tuesday. “Haven’t thought about [the contract]. … I have a year on my deal and I don’t really worry about it right now. I’ve had a great summer, feel good and I’m ready for opening night right now. Can’t wait to get going.”
Duchene said he’s had several conversations with general manager Pierre Dorion during the offseason but they haven’t led to a new contract.
“I spoke to Pierre throughout the summer about things,” Duchene said. “He’s an awesome guy and he’s doing a good job and working hard. It’s been enjoyable to chat with him about stuff but we haven’t gotten there.
“I’d love for it to work. [Ontario] is my home province, three hours from home, Canadian city. Would be awesome if things could work out for sure.”
Duchene was acquired by the Senators from the Avalanche as part of a three-team trade that included the Nashville Predators on Nov. 5, 2017. Duchene had 49 points (23 goals, 26 assists) in 68 games with the Senators following the trade.
The Senators finished 15th in the Eastern Conference with 67 points (28-43-11), 30 points behind the New Jersey Devils for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference, one season after reaching Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final.
“I’m excited to back with the guys and we have a really good group and I think we can have a good start to the season here,” Duchene said. “Lot of people are writing us off but I don’t see it that way. We have a lot of talent and a lot of guys that are willing to work together and have fun doing it.”