In case you hadn’t heard, the Colorado Avalanche are back. At the center of it all has been Matt Duchene. New head coach Patrick Roy has the Avs playing like it’s the ’90s again, and the team believes that they are among the best in the NHL. That’s the intangible that pundits can’t see to grasp on to either.
They point to unsustainable Sabermetric statistics to explain why Colorado will eventually stop winning. They have to stop winning eventually, right?
Anyone who took in the Avalanche take on the Carolina Hurricanes last night knows that they might not start losing any time soon. While Roy has received much of the spotlight for turning this team around and Semyon Varlamov has stolen plenty of shows, Duchene is the guy you should be watching.
Because he makes plays like this on a nightly basis.
That’s a really special move right there.
Recognizing that the defender had extended his stick to protect against a pass to the far boards (a mistake), Duchene spins his body into the D, and takes up the space where the stick should be. Justin Peters didn’t have a chance on this play. Cam Ward wouldn’t have been able to stop it either.
If was just another example of why Duchene is the best player not getting consistent or quality love around the league right now. Nathan MacKinnon is met with more fanfare, while Duchene has quietly posted eight goals and is seventh in the NHL in points.
Colorado is on a roll, and they’re an absolute blast to watch. Duchene is the most entertaining of them all though. His hockey IQ is off the charts and his speed is ridiculous. And he’s finally playing with poise and confidence now. That’s the biggest factor.
While the Avalanche will slow down eventually (everyone slows down eventually, it has nothing to do with advanced stats) it isn’t likely that they’ll tank out. Players like Duchene are just clicking at too high of a rate to see this team sink too far. So just sit back, watch and enjoy.