Behind The Bench: Matt Duchene
Born: January 16, 1991
Wt: 200 lbs
Draft: 3rd overall by the Colorado Avalanche in 2009
Plays for: Colorado Avalanche, Center, Shoots Left
Jersey No.: #9
Regular Season: 161 GP – 21 G – 71 A – 122 P
Playoffs: 6 GP – 0 G – 3 A – 3 P
Every young boy dreams of the day they’ll get drafted by their favourite team and get to put on the same jersey they’ve spent their entire childhood sleeping in.
Matt Duchene got to see his childhood dreams come true when the Colorado Avalanche selected him third overall in 2009. A video of Matt Duchene fist pumping in celebration after Victor Hedman was selected second, really showcases Duchene’s passion to play for the Avs organization, the same organization his childhood idols, Joe Sakic and Peter Forsberg, once played for.
After a strong training camp, Avalanche coaches and management felt Duchene’s well-rounded, two-way game had reached a level where being in the NHL was the only place to continue his development. Duchene made his NHL debut on October 1, 2009 during the Avs home opener, recording his first ever NHL assist. Duchene would go on to have an outstanding rookie season. On December 2, 2009, Duchene became the first 18-year old to record 2 goals in back-to-back games since Radek Dvorak in 1995. He also capped off a great rookie campaign by scoring the winning shootout goal in Vancouver that would send the Avs into the 2010 playoffs. His great play could not carry the Avs past the first round though, as the Avs were eliminated in 6 games against the Sharks.
Duchene finished his rookie season playing in 81 regular season games and 6 playoff games and finished with 24 goals, 31 assist and 55 points. He finished his season …
- third on the Avs in scoring behind Paul Stastny and Chris Stewart
- tied for 1st with John Tavares in goals scored
- first in rookie scoring with 55 points, 1 pt more than Tavares
- second in assist with 31, Tyler Myers finished 1st in assist with 37
- first in shooting percentage (13.3%) among rookies who shot the puck on net more than 100 times
- one of seven rookies to score a short-handed goal
- finished third in Calder Trophy voting behind winner, Tyler Myers and runner-up, Jimmy Howard
The following season, Duchene continued his play and he play was well enough that he was chosen to participate in the 2011 All-Star game. During the contest, Duchene became the first player in history to be awarded a penalty shot at the All-Star game after Alexander Ovechkin tossed his stick toward Duchene during a breakaway attempt. Duchene’s penalty shot was stopped by goalie, Henrik Lundqvist, who became the first goalie in history to face and stop a penalty shot at the All-Star game. Duchene was also the runner-up in the fastest skater competition held the previous day. On January 26, 2011, Duchene recorded his 100th NHL point on a goal against Ilya Bryzgalov. His goal made him the youngest player in franchise history, both Avs and Nordiques, to reach 100 points, beating childhood idol, Joe Sakic. Duchene finished the season with a team leading, 67 points, 27 goals and 40 assist. Duchene became the youngest player in Avs history to lead the team in scoring.
Duchene also got the chance to skate along side one of his childhood idols, Peter Forsberg, when Forsberg attempted at an NHL return.
Duchene is a playmaker with a sniper’s shot. He has a very accurate and hard shot that have many classifying him as a sniper but it’s his ability to see the ice and move the puck through traffic to create chances for his linemates that make him an outstanding player. Duchene has a high hockey IQ and overall is a very intelligent person, he had an 85% average in Grade 12 University English and 82% average in law. Although Duchene has a very good shot and is a great playmaker, his best asset is his great speed. He is an excellent all-round skater, who uses short strides to achieve great speed. Duchene is his best when he uses his great speed to beat defenders down the middle or to the outside.
“I try to be as much like Crosby as I can. He does everything so well, whether it’s scoring goals or play making, making his other teammates look good. He does everything the best of probably anyone in the League. He’s a guy I try to be like the most. ” – Matt Duchene on his style of play
Matt Duchene is a player who is trying his nedt to emulate Sidney Crosby. He tries to do everything well, whether it’s scoring goals or making passes through traffic. He does everything to the best that he can and although he hasn’t been as dominate as ‘Sid the Kid’ in the early stages of his career, there is no reason to doubt that he will reach that level one day. As Duchene continues to gain experience at the NHL level, every facet of his game will continue to develop. He hasn’t has yet to reach super stardom like Sidney Crosby but that day is soon approaching. Duchene’s future is bright and there’s no doubt in my mind will represent Team Canada in 2014 along side Sidney Crosby.
Behind The Bench appears Monday to Friday only on puckpuckgoose.com.
Edited by: Aneil Parashar