The verdict is in: Matt Duchene will remain with the Colorado Avalanche for the 2009-2010 season.
This decision comes as no surprise to anyone. Thought it took him eight games to notch his first NHL goal, he was still a solid player for the Avalanche. If you remove him from the equation, the team's 6-1-1 will immediately start to crumble.
After watching Duchene play his first eight NHL games, the most noticeable thing he brings to the table is speed.
Paul Stastny brings a much slower brand of hockey to the table, so Duchene's ability to win races to loose pucks and beat defenders one-on-one provides a nice smash-and-dash complement to the Avalanche's top two centers.
Another positive about his game is that he's motivated and a hard worker. Before he finally scored a goal, he was noticeably frustrated every time a shot of his was stopped. Many people may view this as a negative thing, with the rationale he's being too hard on himself.
However, I feel the exact opposite. Too many times in the past have we seen players show no emotion on the ice during goal droughts or when the team is struggling. Last year, Tyler Arnason went without a goal for 34 games and showed the same emotionless stare game in and game out. When he finally ended the streak, you would have never known by his reaction when he scored the goal...which was an emotionless stare.
With Duchene, and most people on the current Avalanche team, you can tell they're going to give it their best night in and night out.
If there's been one troubling part of Duchene's play thus far, it's his plus/minus rating, which to date is a minus four.
This stat is very misleading because he's been one of the Avalanche's best forwards defensively, but it is a testament to the lack of goals Duchene's line has brought at even strength: two.
Aside from Duchene's goal against Detroit and a goal by David Jones against Toronto (who's not normally on Duchene's line), he and his line mates have been largely unproductive without the man advantage.
Many would agrue Svatos probably isn't a great fit to play with Duchene due to his poor puck possesion skills, but I doubt there will be any changes as long as the Avalanche are winning games.