Colorado Avalanche Center Matt Duchene received the team’s highest rating for his game in the 2015-16 season.
It is no exaggeration to say that the success of the Colorado Avalanche is largely at the center Matt DucheneShoulders. He is as close to a franchise player as he is in hockey, the man whose salary forms the overarching structure for the entire team.
At least in my eyes, the team’s history is divided into three sections – the Golden Years, the Dark Age, and the Duchy Period. When the Colorado Avalanche selected Matt Duchene for third overall in the 2009 NHL Draft, he was the highest choice the team has ever had. (That has since been dwarfed by a second overall win and a first overall win.)
Duchene is not yet carrying a letter, but is still part of the core of the team. No question about it, he’s a top six striker, part of the one-two Colorado has in the middle. He is also the player’s head coach Patrick Roy taps to do double duty if one of the other strikers is out in a game. Duchene is on the first power play session.
Matt Duchene’s career didn’t quite follow the curve we all expected. He is a streaky goalscorer and a series of goals can be followed by long periods of drought. Perhaps that is why it took him until his seventh year in the NHL to score 30 goals in one season. That said, he’s had five seasons with more than 20 goals.
Duchene tends to be the Colorado Avalanche’s top scorer even if he missed time due to injury. This season he scored first place with 59 points. He missed six games with a knee injury. Matt was also the only representative of the team on the All Star team.
Let’s look at Duchene’s 2015/16 season.
More player grades::
Matt Duchenes Statistics
From the sports charts:
Player class: A-
When the season ended, I didn’t want to give any player more than a B. But even then, Matt Duchene was the candidate for that highest grade. And after analyzing his season, I have the feeling that an A- is deserved.
It is true, his total score should have been higher. Duchene is usually as good a playmaker as a target producer, but that gift was missing this year. His linemates have changed a lot – he’s been skating Mikkel Boedker, Mikhail Grigorenko, Nathan MacKinnon, Jarome Iginla and Gabriel Landeskog throughout the season. For two seasons in a row, its main partner – first Paul Stastny then Ryan O’Reilly – Leave in the summer. That could explain why Duchene struggled to make plays for his partners.
Even so, Matt Duchene was certainly the best player on the team last season. As I mentioned earlier, he was the leading scorer and top scorer. As we all know by now, he scored 30 goals for the first time in his career.
Duchene had a shaky start to his season, followed by a historic November. He also represented the Colorado Avalanche at the All Star Weekend in flashy style:
Seeing that never gets old.
More about Matt Duchene::
Matt Duchene’s future
Let’s start with addressing the elephant in the room. Matt Duchene celebrated his personal milestone by scoring 30 goals. Head coach Patrick Roy criticized him for it. Many people understand that he is on the road with trainer Roy. I see exactly the opposite. As Patrick later explained, he would like Matt to take on more of a leadership role on the team. I can’t imagine he was only thinking for the remaining three games of the season – I understand he might want to give Matt Duchene a letter at some point.
I’ve gone into great detail here on why I don’t think Matt Duchene is on the trading bloc:
It all comes down to the fact that the Colorado Avalanche could never generate an adequate return on a deal. It’s not just that Duchene is talented – there’s a lot of talent in the NHL. It’s the fact that Matt is bleeding burgundy and blue – he’s committed to this team because of his personal history before others, and that’s rare. It also helps explain his very team-friendly contract – fewer players certainly earn a lot more than Duchenes $ 6 million, despite everything, it’s the personal upper limit of the Avalanche. (Ahem, Stastny, O’Reilly.)
What really sets Matt Duchene apart at the Colorado Avalanche is that he has that Stanley Cup attitude that all other core players are still trying to learn. It’s that indefinable will to win – and the willingness to do whatever it takes to improve your game. Most players see this as harder work.
Matt Duchene takes it to the next level well. Long ago he realized that he tends to be preoccupied with his performance, which affects that performance. Duchene took it upon himself to see a sports psychologist. This is a dedication to winning that goes well beyond what most players are willing to do – they have the mentality of just asserting themselves.
Duchene’s unique will is also evident in his willingness to approach the game as a student. He caught Patrick Roy’s flak twice last season – and that couldn’t have been easy, given Patrick’s personality and Duchee’s idolization of the 1990s avalanche. However, Duchene reacted calmly on both occasions.
When trainer Roy Duchene criticized last October for lack of point production, Matt took his teaching to heart and responded with historic November. Even before coach Roy criticized him for the goal celebration, Duchene spoke about the fact that he had not celebrated – and repeated Patrick’s words before he heard them.
When Matt Duchene was later confronted with the brouhaha – and knew that a large part of the fan base would fall on his side – he responded perfectly:
“I totally understand where [Roy’s] comes from what he’s trying to do. I’m in, I think we’re all … We talked, I know exactly what he was getting at, I know what the message was, and I believe in that message … It was one of those things that went right away “I knew for sure it wasn’t the right thing to do, the right reaction. After that, I buried my head and even went back to the bank. I understood it wasn’t the right thing to do. “
Duchene said in no uncertain terms that his act was a mistake and that he totally agreed with the coach. Whether that’s true or not doesn’t matter – Duchene took responsibility in a difficult situation and made the right decision on how to react.
Coaches love goal scorers and leaders. The Colorado Avalanche will be about players who show character in addition to their skills. For this reason, Matt Duchene’s future on the team looks very bright.