Going back to early last season, things were not great for Matt Duchene.
It was clear that he wanted out of Colorado and the team was struggling to make that happen not only then, but in several months prior to that. Duchene, 27, was not happy being a member of the Avalanche anymore and was looking for a fresh start.
Both the Avs and the Ottawa Senators made that happen via trade and ever since then, Duchene has done his part in Ottawa to show that he was not only worth acquiring, but that he could put up big numbers on a consistent basis.
Duchene has been absolutely dynamite to the start season. He could end up being a UFA in the summer so it is easy to see that he is trying to earn top dollar come to the end of the season.
While it is not yet known whether or not he will go the UFA route or stay with the Senators, Duchene is showing that no matter where he goes, he is going to be an offensive threat. That has especially been the case this season thus far.
As of this writing, Duchene leads the team with 33 points (12 goals and 21 assists) in 26 games. This means that in 94 games with the Sens, he has 82 points on 35 goals and 47 assists.
What’s more impressive is the month that Duchene just completed. He finished the month of November with 22 points in 15 games after picking up a goal and an assist in his team’s 3-0 victory over the New York Rangers on November 29.
Duchene has been particularly great in his last 12 games. He has scored eight goals and picked up 13 assists as he continues to show that he can put up points at a prolific rate.
So, why has Duchene been so dominant thus far? The first answer to that question is that he has always been unbelievably talented.
Duchene plays with a ton of speed, puck-handling ability, terrific vision, and smart hockey sense. He also knows how to feed open teammates with great passes and can absolutely dangle his way through opposing defenders.
Secondly, Duchene has always been a pretty consistent point producer. In 680 career games, he has 510 points ( 213 goals and 297 assists) and averages close to 60 points a season.
Lastly, Duchene wants to be paid. This is a contract year for him so he is doing everything he possibly can to show both his current club as well as potential future clubs that he will be worth paying a lot of money in order to play for their franchise.
When it comes to next season, the Senators have made it known that they want to keep him. Considering the state of their franchise, why wouldn’t they want to keep their best offensive player for the foreseeable future.
Obviously, this will all depend on what Duchene wants to do. About a week ago, it was reported by the great Bob McKenzie that Duchene and the Sens made progress in contract talks and that he believes that an extension would be for eight years worth around $8-9 million a season annually.
No matter what happens regarding that situation, Duchene has been awesome this year for the Sens and is keeping them relevant, which is good for both him and the franchise.
Photo: Sports Illustrated