With the Avalanche mired in a historically awful season at the time, Duchene - who was dealt to the Ottawa Senators on Sunday - saw signs that general manager Joe Sakic was leading the club into a retooling phase. Having been down that road before, the now 26-year-old wasn't willing to spend his prime years not seriously competing for the Stanley Cup.
As a result, Duchene made the request to management, which he called "the hardest thing I ever had to do" at an introductory press conference in Ottawa on Monday.
"I wanted to play playoff hockey" he explained, per Bruce Garrioch of Postmedia. "I’ve got eight playoff games to my name right now and that’s not where I want to be at this point of my career. I only get one shot at this. I get to play this game for however long my body lets me play it and I felt I wanted to let Joe know it was time to move on."
Duchene was a Colorado fan as a kid, and dreamed of winning the Cup with the Avalanche. His 586 regular-season games with the franchise only translated into two trips to the playoffs, however, wherein he recorded six assists in eight games.
The Senators came within a goal of advancing to the Stanley Cup Final last season and certainly hope Duchene will add to his postseason totals with the club.