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Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene had something of an off year during the 2014-15 season. Of course for Matt Duchene, having an off season still put him in a better position than the vast majority of NHL players.
Every Sunday during the off season we’re going to take a look at different Colorado Avalanche players and the contributions they made to the team. So, let’s look at how much Matt Duchene contributes to the Colorado Avalanche even when he’s had an “off season.”
Matt Duchene Statistics
Matt Duchene played in all 82 games for the Avalanche. This marks the first time he’s played all the games in a season, though in some previous seasons he’s only missed a game or two.
It shouldn’t be too surprising that Matt Duchene’s best numbers are offense based. He earned 21 goals and 34 assists for 55 points, putting him into the #4 spot on the team. His goal to assist ratio is very close to 1:3.
Duchene, like so many Avalanche players, struggled on the power play this season. All but two of his goals came at even strength, and only five of his assists came with the man-advantage.
Duchene was seen as one of those players who was too fancy for his own good. I, myself, exhorted him throughout the season to “shoot more.” Well, he ended up finishing second on the team for shots on goal with 207, behind only Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog.
Matt Duchene remarked after a game in which he recorded 10 shots on net to earn one goal that he’d keep shooting 10 times a game if it meant he’d score. He pretty much ended up with that shooting percentage, recording 9.9 shots per goal.
Duchene is not perceived as a two-way player. Yet his turnover plus-minus is +15. At 5-foot-11, 200 pounds (though at IIHF World he “grew” two inches), Duchene is not the most physical of players. Nonetheless, he recorded 74 blocked shots and a respectable 43 hits.
Duchene sees time both at even strength and on the power play. He was second only to Ryan O’Reilly among centermen in both time on the ice (18:34) and faceoff percentage (52.2).
Matt Duchene’s statistics from Sporting Charts:
Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene’s statistics from 2014-15. Photo credit: Sporting Charts
Matt Duchene Role
Matt Duchene is the #1 center for the Colorado Avalanche, especially now that Ryan O’Reilly has been traded. Eventually Nathan MacKinnon may take over that position, but that time is not now.
Duchene is also considered something of the face of the franchise. At the time of his drafting in 2009, he was the highest draft pick the Avalanche had ever had at #3. He endeared himself to fans when he was delighted at not getting chosen #2 because that meant he could go to his favorite team, the Avs.
More than anything, fans, media and coaches alike seem to turn to Matt Duchene as the offensive answer. He is one skilled player, and a major fan favorite.
Watch Matt Duchene in action — all goals from the 2014-15 season:
You can see that Duchene has a pretty finish.
While talking about contracts, Avalanche GM Joe Sakic has alluded to a team “structure.” The unsaid part of that structure is that no player should make more money than Matt Duchene. That shows the value the team places on this young forward. (He’s still only 24!)
Matt Duchene’s Future
If NHL teams had franchise players, Matt Duchene would be that man for the Colorado Avalanche. It’s expected that he and Nathan MacKinnon will be the one-two punch at center for the Avalanche for years to come.
That said, the one area of his career that seems to be lacking is leadership. That’s not to say Duchene isn’t a leader — I believe he is. However, he hasn’t been offered more than a behind-the-scenes leadership role. It’s not necessary for a player to wear a letter to be a leader. However, for a man that already has an Olympic gold medal and IIHF Worlds gold medal, it’s seems a logical next step.
That and a Stanley Cup, of course.
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