Nashville Predators buyout contract of Matt Duchene
(Photo Credit: @OntheForecheck/ Twitter)

In an unexpected move, the Nashville Predators announced the buyout of veteran center Matt Duchene’s contract. With three years remaining on his $8 million annual deal, the decision has shocked many in the hockey world.

Duchene, a 32-year-old veteran, has been a notable figure on the team and a key player in the 2022-23 season, netting 22 goals and 34 assists in 71 games played. Despite these solid statistics, Duchene’s departure signals a significant shift for the Predators under new general manager Barry Trotz.

“Things are changing in Music City,” said Trotz. The buyout of Duchene is seen as a strong sign of a paradigm shift for the Predators, particularly for their forward group. The move clears up about $24 million of cap space, providing the team with greater flexibility to bring in younger talents like Tommy Novak, Philip Tomasino, Luke Evangelista, and Juuso Parssinen.

The Predators are entering the offseason with $14,544,691 in cap space, assuming the league salary cap remains at $82.5M for the 2023-24 season and beyond. This increased cap space allows the Predators to reshape their team in the coming seasons.

Aside from his on-ice contributions, Duchene has also been a staple in the Nashville music scene. A passionate country music fan since his childhood in Haliburton, Ontario, Duchene often showcased his musical talents in Music City, even performing live at Gibson Garage and recording a song during the pandemic.

While Duchene’s future in the NHL remains uncertain, he continues to be a player of high caliber. Despite a slightly off year in 2022-23, Duchene still managed to net 22 goals and 56 points for the Predators. Given the thin free agent market in 2023, Duchene could potentially top the charts of available NHL free agents.

For now, Duchene, who is noted to have a potential music career waiting for him after his hockey days, will be looking for a new team and a chance to continue his NHL journey.