So, you're Matt Duchene...no longer the face of the franchise

Adrian Dater

So, you're Matt Duchene. Three years ago, you were drafted third overall by the Colorado Avalanche and we still remember the fist pump. Joe Sakic retired 13 days later, instantly assuring that you would be the face of the franchise. As if to reinforce that, you first stepped on to the ice in an Avalanche unipron wearing #9 at 9am on 9/9/09. You said all the right things, in your "aw-shucks", humble way. You hadn't even played your first NHL game and folks were lauding your for your leadership abilities. The question isn't really "if" you'd be the next captain, but "when".

You scored 55 points that year, 3rd best on the team and tops among rookies. You were a Calder finalist but voters are size queens and went with Tyler Myers. You scored 3 points and averaged more than 19 minutes in 6 playoff games that year.

You led the Avs in scoring the next year with 67 points. You made the All-Star team. Colorado was a disaster between the pipes, but that wasn't your fault. Craig Anderson, John-Michael Liles and Chris Stewart were traded. Paul Stastny was slumping. Peter Forsberg came and went. Slowly but surely, the Avalanche are becoming your team.

Adam Foote retires that summer and there's talk that maybe you'd be named captain, although Stastny and Milan Hejduk are also mentioned. Instead, the Avalanche decide to go with D) none of the above until ultimately going with Hejduk midseason.

You struggled. Instead of busting out in your 3rd year, injuries, suspect linemates and your own poor play contributed to a disaster of a season: 28 points in 58 games. Meanwhile, the new rookie that atrocious goaltending landed was terrific, with 52 points in his first year (lower than your rookie year, but that didn't get mentioned as much). Gabriel Landeskog is praised for his toughness, his drive, his skill...his leadership.

This summer, it was Landeskog, not you, named captain to replace Hejduk. Hejduk and Stastny will be the alternates, although coach Sacco indicated that Ryan O'Reilly might share that honor as well. You aren't mentioned. Landy is now the undisputed face of the franchise, the team's leader - a role that just a year ago you were clearly on track for.

So, if you're Matt Duchene, that makes you...angry? Motivated? Relieved? Heartbroken? I'm really interested to find out the answer to this one.

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