Jul 19, 2013, 9:00 AM EDT
It wasn’t too long ago that Matt Duchene hit the first major rough patch of his NHL career. He missed a significant portion of the 2011-12 campaign due to a knee injury and wasn’t particularly effective when healthy.
Duchene ended up with just 14 goals and 28 points in 58 contests that season. That prompted the Colorado Avalanche to play hardball during his contract negotiations and led to his two-year, $7 million deal.
Rather than be discouraged by his struggles, Duchene used them as motivation.
“It was a real tough year, but I wanted to try and use it to learn and get better,” Duchene told the Denver Post.
He succeeded and that resulted in his recently signed five-year, $30 million deal.
After recording 43 points in 47 games, the 22-year-old forward is looking to take another step forward next season. It helps that new coach Patrick Roy plans to put him on an intriguing line. Duchene will play alongside Ryan O’Reilly, who is shifting from center to the left wing.
“I just talked some with Ryan [yesterday], and he’s going to be great on the wing. I think he’s played some there before, and I think he can be really strong there,” Duchene said.
P.A. Parenteau, who matched Duchene’s 43 points last season, will round out the line. We’ll see how long they stay together, but they’re certainly a talented trio.
- Jack Adams Award finalists to be announced tonight 2
- Video: Flames stun Ducks in OT to get back in the series 8
- Video: Controversial no-goal call on Flames 11
- Video: Crawford, Kane help Blackhawks push Wild to brink of elimination 51
- WATCH LIVE: Tonight’s Stanley Cup Playoff action 1
- Prust apologizes for all the stuff he said about referee Watson 49
- Flyers will be ‘extremely patient’ with youngsters, but ‘want a winner as soon as possible’ 25
- Here’s your Stanley Cup playoff TV schedule for tonight 16
- Holtby outduels Lundqvist as Caps take series lead 52
- Red Wings’ Devellano calls Mantha ‘very, very, very disappointing’ 66
- Vigneault: ‘Standards have been set’ after Ovechkin, Backstrom hits (103)
- ‘You can’t win,’ ex-NHL ref Fraser says of Prust incident (83)
- Lightning’s Bishop silences Red Wings in hard fought Game 7 (81)
- Babcock won’t discuss future yet, but sees challenges ahead for Wings (79)
- New York second: Capitals stun Rangers for 1-0 series lead (76)