Colorado Avalanche Forward Matt Duchene Deserves Some Praise

Colorado Avalanche forward Matt Duchene has easily been the most productive player on the team this season. While the rest of the team struggles, he’s been a beast.

Matt Duchene started off real slow for the Colorado Avalanche last season; luckily, he’s avoided that slow start this year.

In fact, he’s started off the past two seasons slow for the Avs, so it’s nice to see him getting back on track with a quick start this season.

Unfortunately, Duchy is the only one scoring for the team. In the last eight games — where the Avs have been 2-6 — Duchene has eight points (4g, 4a).

During that span, Nathan MacKinnon has had two points (1g, 1a), Gabe Landeskog has had three points (1g, 2a), Erik Johnson has had two points (2a), and Tyson Barrie has registered two points (2a).

That’s the rest of the core for the Avs. And, each one of those players individually had at least three points in their first two games. And, they each combined for 13 points in the first two games*.

Since then, it’s been all Matt Duchene. He is quite literally the only player that has been consistently productive for the Avs — first three games excluded.

The man deserves some praise for sure, but that praise won’t mean anything to him unless the Avs start winning games soon. And, the only way for that to happen is if other plays start to produce for the Colorado Avalanche.

*All stats taken from Hockey-Reference.

What’s Working for Duchy

For one, he’s actually putting the puck into the back of the net. However, he does have the highest shooting percentage on the team with 21.4 percent, and that number is likely to go down.

Nonetheless, he’s also taken the third most shots on the team with 28. If he keeps shooting the puck then it will go in.

And that’s part of it as well, Duchy is taking good shots, and making some real smart plays in the offensive zone. He’s the only forward on the Avalanche — besides John Mitchell and Andreas Martinsen — who is not a minus this season.

He’s also right near the top of the league in the face-off dot yet again, at 60 percent. That’s good for No. 10 overall in the league.

Duchene is currently averaging 11 face-offs per game, but he did start the season on the wing, and has been taking a bunch more face-offs recently. For example, he’s taken a total of 83 face-offs in the last five games, which is good for an average of 17 per game.

It would seem that Duchy has made the shift back to center, and I am certainly thankful for that. He’s just simply one of the best face-off men in the league, and that’s a skill that cannot go understated.

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Especially when Nathan MacKinnon’s 51.4 percent winning percentage is relegated to the wing. And, when you’re second line center, Carl Soderberg, is sporting a face-off percentage of 47.1 percent.

It’s safe to say that Duchene’s production so far this season is a welcomed development. Now, we just need the rest of the Avs’ players to get things rolling.

Conclusion

Tonight, the Winnipeg Jets come to town for the Avs’ second game of a four-game home stand. Puck drop is at 7:00 pm MST at the Pepsi Center.

If the Avalanche keep performing the way they have in recent games, then Duchene’s production will be all the more important. However, this team isn’t going to start winning until other players start putting the puck in the net with regularity.

In other words, it’s pretty disappointing that Joe Colborne’s hat trick from opening night is still tied for second on the team in goal production. The individual he’s tied with, Gabe Landeskog, registered two of his three goals in the second game of the season.

The Avs need to start scoring. Even though they’re registering a good amount of shots per game, they need to start getting some higher quality scoring chances.

It does seem like a lot of their shots come from the point and from the edges. And, it seems like they don’t find themselves in the slot or at the dot with a good chance very often.

Hopefully tonight the damn breaks and the flood of goals ensues. Here’s to hope.

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