Ever since he joined the NHL in 2009-10, Matt Duchene’s offensive talent has been obvious but his ability to produce individual moments of brilliance was sporadic like most 18-year old kids. Over time, that has changed. The Colorado Avalanche centre is in his fifth season now. He is 22-years old, mature, and knowledgeable about the opposition. Duchene is a nightly threat, quickly becoming one of the NHL’s most dynamic offensive weapons.
Team Canada? He’s got a great chance. Two years ago we would’ve all said Claude Giroux, Ryan Getzlaf, Joe Thornton – they are locks to represent Canada at the Winter Olympics in Sochi. However, in the backs of our minds we would’ve also realized that by the time the 2014 Winters rolled around there would be some kids who belonged ahead of 2010’s aging vets. Or at least that it was going to be debatable.
While Ryan Getzlaf, Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Corey Perry and Mike Richards are still great players in the National Hockey League, their return to the lineup would mean no room for some names like Steven Stamkos, John Tavares, Logan Couture, and Matt Duchene, to name a few.
Duchene has 9 goals in 11 games this season. Only Alex Ovechkin and Alex Steen have more, both with 10. But the two Alex’s aren’t Canadian, so Matt Duchene leads all Canucks in goal scoring. Pretty impressive. In 2002, another young Canadian was under the radar entering the Olympic season. His name was Jarome Iginla. Jarome started 2001-02 very strong, leading the league in goals and points after two months of hockey. By the time Wayne Gretzky had to finalize Canada’s roster he couldn’t leave Iginla off. Iggy made the team and scored two goals in the Gold medal game against Team USA. Iginla’s line-mate Joe Sakic also had two goals in Canada’s 5-2 win. Remember this great call by Bob Cole?
Stamkos and Tavares will be there for sure. Duchene, he could be in the maybe column right now. But if he keeps producing and playing at his current pace there will be no way to leave him off the team. His addition could feature a storybook ending.