Duchene was forced to miss some time this past season due to injury but still scored 14 goals and had 14 assists. The former third-overall pick in the 2009 NHL draft had great success with Colorado in the two previous seasons, racking up point totals of 55 and 67.
He’s had an incredible impact on this young team and easily could’ve been named the captain this season, but head coach Joe Sacco decided to go with veteran Milan Hejduk instead. There’s no doubt that he could be a future captain of this team as long as he continues to develop leadership qualities on and off of the ice.
Duchene is just one of the good, young players that Colorado has on its roster including Ryan O’Reilly, Erik Johnson and Calder Trophy winner Gabriel Landeskog, among others.
Duchene seems to be one of the building blocks for Colorado and Avalanche general manager Greg Sherman reiterated that point by saying, “Matt is an important part of our team. We are excited to come to terms with him and we look forward to seeing him at camp.”
With such great young talent—led by Duchene—the Avalanche have a good chance at making the playoffs in the upcoming 2012-13 season and many seasons after that. Colorado just missed out on a playoff appearance this season, finishing in 11th and seven points behind No. 8 seed and the future Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings.
This upcoming season will really feature how many great players Colorado has and hopefully they can build up a reputation as one of the top teams in the Western Conference.
Even with O’Reilly and alternate captain Paul Stastny at center, it would’ve been a poor decision not to extend Duchene’s contract. He should play on the first line next year but will have some competition after a masterful season produced by O’Reilly. He’s clearly an impact player and should continue to improve with more and more experience.
Overall, it was a great decision made by both the Colorado Avalanche and Matt Duchene. Here’s to hoping he can provide the push Colorado needs to make it into the NHL playoffs.