Why Matt Duchene Will Be Captain of the Colorado Avalanche

Benjamin KleinContributor IIIOctober 12, 2011

ANAHEIM, CA - FEBRUARY 27:  Matt Duchene #9 of the Colorado Avalanche receives high fives from the bench against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center on February 27, 2011 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

The Colorado Avalanche are the only team in the NHL besides the Florida Panthers who have yet to name a captain. Coach Joe Sacco has deemed Milan Hejduk, Paul Stastny, and Erik Johnson (rotating) the alternate captains thus far.

You could make a case that Hejduk could be named the captain because he is the longest tenured player on the team, but he is very soft-spoken and lacks leadership qualities that are necessary for a captain.

Hejduk and Stastny have been two of the key statistical leaders for Colorado over the past few seasons, but Matt Duchene is the future of the franchise.

At just age 19 last season, Duchene led the Avalanche in total points (67) and was tied for first in both goals (27) and assists (40). He, along with Stastny, represented Colorado at the NHL All-Star Game. 

The year before, his rookie season, he finished third on the team in points (55) and assists (31) and finished second in goals (24). That season he finished third in the Calder Trophy for the league's top rookie.

Through his first two seasons, it is clear that the Colorado Avalanche made the right decision with their third overall pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. Coach Sacco currently plays Duchene on the first line along with Hejduk and Peter Mueller, giving him plenty of opportunities to score.

There isn’t a good reason why he shouldn’t be the captain and Sacco should realize that. He is clearly one of the best on the team and deserves some respect from Sacco and ownership. Duchene clearly is the face and future of the franchise. Why not express that with a “C” on the front of his jersey?