Duchene is coming off a 56-point season with the Predators, who determined that keeping him on a contract that paid him $8 million was no longer tenable.
The buyout itself was something a surprise considering Duchene scored 43 goals and produced 86 points as recently as 2021-22, but this deal might be even more eyebrow-raising. Although Duchene is 32, he still provides strong offensive value and it seems likely that he could've commanded more than he's earning with Dallas on the open market.
Duchene may have chosen Dallas for the opportunity to play with a group of impressive offensive talents including Jason Roberton, Roope Hintz, Jamie Benn, and Joe Pavelski. His chances of producing at a high level look good with far better linemates than he just had in Nashville.
If Duchene puts together a banner year with the Stars he will be able to hit the free-agent market again next year in a strong position. There will also be more money available in next year's market as the salary cap is projected to rise by $4 million for the 2024-25 season.
From the Stars' perspective, Duchene seems like a bargain at $3 million — and the team's offence will benefit from getting a little bit deeper. Adding the 14-year veteran has put Dallas right against the salary cap as they have just $1.357 million left to spend.
That lack of flexibility could make things difficult for the Stars as the offseason continues, but with Duchene in hand the team has already found an impact player at a palatable price.