From the time he was drafted 3rd overall in the 2009 NHL entry draft, Matt Duchene has been an integral part of the Colorado Avalanche organization. Later this week, Duchene will play his first game in an Ottawa Senators uniform against the team that he played nearly 600 NHL games for.
It won’t have quite the impact that the Eric Lindros trade had on the organization, but given the return for Duchene, it’s hard to not compare the two. Joe Sakic is betting on Samuel Girard and Shane Bowers becoming impactful NHLers and he’s hoping his scouting staff can turn the draft picks into players that will help Avs fans look back at this trade as a huge win for the franchise.
While it’s time to start a new chapter for both the team and the player, let’s take a look back at some of the more impactful moments for Matt Duchene in Denver.
Selecting Matt Duchene was a no-brainer. The 2009 draft had three elite prospects, Duchene was the last on the board and there was no question as to who Greg Sherman and the Avs would be selecting.
Moments after being drafted, Duchene spoke about the prospects of having Joe Sakic as a mentor - I bet this wide-eyed 18-year old could never have been able to predict that the player he grew up idolizing would be the one to trade him away 8 and a half years later.
On the Ice with the Avalanche
Duchene knew how to win his way into the hearts of Avalanche fans early as he scored his first career goal against the rival Detroit Red Wings.
Then, how does he cap off his rookie season? He scores the shootout winner to clinch a playoff spot for the Avs.
No matter the deficiencies in his game, Duchene has always been one of the fastest players in the NHL and every now and then he’d do something that reminded you he’s one of the most offensively gifted players in the world.
Deep down, he’s a guy that just loves to play the game of hockey and he’s not afraid to show how much fun it can be.
The Rough Times
Like with any relationship, times weren’t always great. Like that time he showed a little emotion and his stuck-in-the-past old-school thinking coach thought that was a bad thing.
Or when he came back to Denver this September for a training camp he had assumed he wouldn’t be coming to.
Off the Ice
Duchene has always been very conscious of his value as a role model to young hockey fans and was always ready to help give back to the community - especially in his hometown of Haliburton, Ontario.
In a time where far too many NHLers don’t like the spotlight on them anywhere but at the rink, Duchene has embraced his role with the fans.
“He changes people’s lives and he doesn’t even know he’s doing it. That’s the magic of Matt Duchene”
Matt Duchene has a ton of fans in Denver and around the hockey world. It will hurt many to see him go, but it was time to move on for both the player and the team. The Avalanche are starting a new chapter, but that doesn’t mean the fans can’t think back on the great times Duchene had with the franchise.