The Colorado Avalanche had exactly three positives to their miserable 2013 regular season. No more, no less. The first is the fact that they were able to acquire the no. 1 overall pick in the draft, meaning Seth Jones will soon be manning the blue line in the Mile High City.
The two other positives were the play of Matt Duchene and P.A. Parenteau. They were really the only two sources of consistency for the Avalanche during the regular season. For Duchene, this was a welcome year, as he was able to bounce back and turn in some pretty solid numbers for Colorado.
After a 67-point campaign back in 2010-2011, Duchene had high expectations heading into the 2011-2012 season. But a variety of injuries derailed his season, as he appeared in only 58 games and was limited to just 28 points, including only 14 goals. Everything he did, or didn’t do, last year is now forgotten.
Duchene finished the 2013 regular season as the leading scorer for the Avalanche. His 43 points were tied with Parenteau for tops on the team, as he missed only one game. Better yet, his goal scoring was back up to where it was expected to be after he finished with 27 in 80 games back in ’10-’11.
Duchene was able to eclipse his 14 from last season with 17 in the lockout-shortened 2013 campaign. He finished with 26 helpers, which would have set him on pace for a new career high if it had been a full season. He was also a wizard in the faceoff circle, winning a touch under 55 percent of his draws.
There’s no doubt that this was a much needed year of success for Duchene. Despite the misery that was the 2013 campaign for the Avalanche, as they finished at the bottom of the Western Conference and 29th out of 30 teams overall, the play of Matt Duchene is one of a few reasons for hope.
This team will be improved next year, and they will be healthy. Right in the middle of it all will be Duchene. If he can take this year and build on it, he’ll reach that superstar level that many expected him to last season. If he does so, this Avalanche team could very well be a threat out West as soon as next season.