The Colorado Avalanche’s stock in the west will rise if Matt Duchene and P.A. Parenteau are listed next to each other on the score sheet consistently. Duchene now has a complementary winger at his disposal as he works to become one of the best young centers in the league. It is a partner Duchene, who is entering his fourth season, has lacked during his time with Colorado.
The Avalanche did not make the playoffs last year, but believe they have the pieces in place to move up in the league. The Avalanche are pleased with the progress of forwards Gabriel Landeskog and Ryan O’Reilly, they continue to improve their defense and they believe that Semyon Varlamov is the goalie for the future. Their main disappointment last year was the play of Matt Duchene. Duchene managed just 58 games due to injury and had only 28 points split evenly between goals and assists in his abbreviated season. This small point total is a regression after a rookie season for Duchene of 55 points and a sophomore campaign of 67.
Duchene has always had the skill to produce, but his timing often seems off. His best line partners were Tomas Fleischman and Peter Mueller, but both players had injury problems and are no longer with the Avalanche organization. The addition of Parenteau, along with the return of David Jones, will hopefully provide a steady situation for Duchene as he fights for ice time with Paul Stastny and Ryan O’Reilly at center.
Parenteau had 67 points last year, 12 more than the Avalanche’s leading scorer O’Reilly. His strength comes as a setup man, but he also has 20 goal potential. For Duchene, whose shots hit the post just a little too often, Parenteau may be able to provide him with a little more confidence.
The Avalanche still have cap room to pick up another free agent or make a trade within the next year to improve their club. They will be operating with three offensive lines and significant potential on each. If enough players can get working offensively, they could be a nightmare for opposing teams’ defensive pairings. That scenario starts with Duchene and Parenteau.