Whenever this lockout finally comes to an end, the Colorado Avalanche are going to be one of the more exciting teams to watch. With some great young talent and a couple of additions this summer, they are a team believed to be on the verge of at least playoff contention next season.
Aside from Gabriel Landeskog, it will have to be Matt Duchene leading the way for the Avs if they hope to emerge as real contenders in the Western Conference next season. He’ll be right in the middle of the top six, whether it’s on the first or second line. That, quite possibly, makes him the key to everything they hope to accomplish next season.
The 2011-2012 season wasn’t an easy one for Matt Duchene. He struggled with injury throughout, finishing the year with just 28 points in 58 games. That followed to very productive seasons, both of which saw improvement in his overall numbers.
This season, Duchene is going to be relied on for a lot and the expectations are going to be high, not only for him, but this Avalanche squad as a whole. There a few things working in his favor to meet those expectations. The first is his health. He obviously heads into the new season, whenever it begins, completely healthy.
Then there is the addition of P.A. Parenteau. Parenteau had a fantastic year last season, finishing with 67 points while playing next to one of the better centers in the league in John Tavares. If the two can find the same type of chemistry that Tavares and Parenteau had last year, Duchene could end up skyrocketing up the season point totals.
Still just 21, it’s important that Duchene takes a big step forward for the Avalanche this season. I think he has the skill set and the players around him to do it, and he should be a very fun player to watch this season, and beyond. The Avalanche, in general, will be an intriguing team to watch, but as big a star as Landeskog is, their success will start with Duchene.