Matt Duchene: I’m Ready For Him to Step Up


It’s time for Matt Duchene to step up. The Avs highest paid player must be better this season. 21 goals and 55 points isn’t going to cut it.

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I’m a big fan of Duchene. I had the same posters of Colorado Avalanche players on my wall as he did as a kid. He’s unquestionably happy to be part of the organization and there’s no denying his talent. And that’s why I want more out of him. I want him to be the undisputed face of the franchise and the leader of the organization. He’s still a kid, only 24 years old, but he’s been in the league for six years. He’s played with Avalanche greats Adam Foote, Peter Forsberg (albeit briefly), Milan Hejduk, and Alex Tanguay. He’s coached by Patrick Roy. He’s negotiated with Joe Sakic. He’s a very good player.

But I want greatness from Duchene.

And I think he has it in him. I don’t question his desire or compete level. He made Team Canada in 2014 when most figured he wouldn’t. He finished third in scoring at the IIHF World Championships this past May, ahead of Sidney Crosby. He’s fully capable of leading the Colorado Avalanche to the next level.

This is the season for Duchene to prove he has it in him.

Ryan O’Reilly and his enormous contract are now in Buffalo. Whether Duchene liked it or not, he was always in the middle of O’Reilly contract negotiations because Avalanche management used him as the contract bar. They didn’t want O’Reilly making more than Duchene. Who knows how much, if at all, that bothered #9, but that worry is now gone. He’s the undisputed #1 center on the team. Nathan MacKinnon isn’t quite ready to carry the team and Carl Soderberg certainly isn’t a #1 guy.

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Matt Duchene is going to see more even strength time than any other forward this upcoming season. He’ll likely be playing alongside Jarome Iginla and Tanguay, two of the easiest players to play hockey with given Iginla’s goal scoring ability and Tanguay’s passing and vision. The trio had success throughout last season and make sense as the Avs top line combination.

The power play is where I want to see the biggest improvement from Duchene. Seven points isn’t good enough. He should pick up at least 20 points on the power play. That’s about how many PP points elite players pick up and Duchene proved he can do it in his rookie season, scoring 10 PP goals to go along with 11 PP assists. His offensive skills are too good to only register seven PP points.

While he might not have a “A” on his sweater, Matt Duchene is looked at as one of the leaders on the team. Aside from Cody McLeod and Tanguay, no player on the current roster has played more games in the burgundy and blue than Duchene. Assistant captain or not, it’s his job to step up and lead the team. Even he’s not vocally leading them in the locker room, he needs to lead them on the ice and the best way to do that is to play to the level that he’s capable of.

What do you expect to see from Matt Duchene next season? Let us know in the comments!

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