I thought it would be fun to start this review by looking at MHH comments through the month of October on how Duchene had been playing to that point, and what some people thought of Mighty Matt.
Oh, what fun! Sorry to rehash those comments, to those of you that made them, but I thought they were worth showing because it just goes to show how much of an overreaction those thoughts were at the time. Now, to be fair, Duchene was not delivering in October. He only had 1 goal and 1 assist until November, which for the team's supposed best player, is something that just can't happen. Probably at least 30% of the team's slow start can be attributed to Duchene's point production or lack thereof to start the season.
But then he got hot. And I mean HOT! Duchene absolutely torched the National Hockey League in November, compiling 11 goals and 9 assists, almost completely making up for his slow start. Throw in 2 more goals on December 1st and 3rd, and that gives him 22 points in a month and three days. That's what we like to see out of Duchene, and it was maybe his greatest stretch to date since he joined the NHL in 2009. It propelled him to his first 30 goal season and the Avalanche's lone All-Star representative.
There were a few games this year that Duchene just took over and either solely won for the Avs, or gave them a chance they wouldn't have had without him. I look to the mid-January drumming Chicago gave the Avs at United Center that was 6-3, but look at it closer. It was 3-0 Blackhawks in the 2nd before Duchene scored a couple of outstanding goals to make it a game at 3-2. I remember him being the only real Av to show up that night, and his effort against one of the best teams in the league alone made the score not nearly as ugly as what it could have been, especially since he added an assist that night as well to make the final score 6-3.
This grade surprises me. I was pretty confident that Duchene was going to get the highest grade of anyone in this player poll based solely off the fact he was the team's best player, and he had his best individual season of his career. I was wrong, but hey, that's not the first time that's happened (amazingly, it's only the second time in my life I've ever been wrong). I gave Mighty Matt an A and he was the only one who I handed that grade out too. Going forward, I'd like to see Duchene make a habit of putting numbers up like he did this season from now through the rest of eternity. He's the best player of this post-Sakic generation of the Avalanche, and more seasons like this to prove that point would be very beneficial for Colorado.