Colorado Avalanche vs. Minnesota Wild: 7 Takeaways

5 of 8

Oct 8, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene (9) reacts to the loss against the Minnesota Wild at Pepsi Center. The Wild won 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

4. Matt Duchene Is Struggling

Duchene is my favorite player on the Colorado Avalanche, so anything that follows is in no way there to bash him. However, starting with last season, Duchene has been struggling, and Roy doesn’t seem to find a way to fix that.

Back in 2013, it finally looked like Duchene could become the elite center we were all hoping he would become. John Tavares, who was selected two spots ahead of Duchene in the 2009 NHL Draft, is already there, falling one point short of being the NHL’s 2014-15 top scorer. Duchene recorded 71 points in the 2013-14 season, but failed to build on that. His 55 points were okay last season, but really nothing more than that.

In this year’s season opener, Duchene looked decent once again, but occasionally fell to “wow, that was a bad game for him.” Duchene ended up being a minus-3, failed to record a point, had only two shots and caused the tying goal with a terrible turnover in the neutral zone. Unfortunately, he was even on the ice for a powerplay goal, but would also be on the ice for four goals against. Not a good game for him.

This will be a difficult issue to fix. Duchene still has elite talent, but something just seems to be off, and it’s hard to tell what it is. For some reason, the speedy forward can’t find chemistry with anyone, except for maybe Jarome Iginla. So, what will line shuffling change? Perhaps not a lot. If the Avs want to get even close to the playoffs again, they must be able to rely on their No. 1 center, though.

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