Matthew Duchene (born January 16, 1991) is a Canadian professional ice hockey centre in the National Hockey League for the Colorado Avalanche. He was selected third overall by Colorado in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.
Duchene grew up playing minor hockey for the OMHA’s Central Ontario Wolves (Lindsay, Ontario) of the Eastern AAA League. He also spent his early hockey years playing for his hometown Haliburton Huskies before moving up to the AAA level. After the 2006-07 season with the Wolves, Duchene was selected in the 1st round of the 2007 OHL Priority Selection by the Brampton Battalion.
Duchene started playing junior in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) in 2007–08, and recorded 30 goals and 50 points in his rookie campaign. The following season, he improved to 79 points in 57 games, then added 26 points in the post-season, helping the Battalion to the J. Ross Robertson Cup Finals, where they were defeated by eventual Memorial Cup champions, the Windsor Spitfires.
Going into the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, Duchene was ranked second overall among North American skaters by the NHL Central Scouting Bureau, behind just John Tavares. Swedish defenceman Victor Hedman was also considered a strong candidate with Tavares for the first overall selection. However, Duchene’s well-rounded, two-way game garnered him attention for the top pick, as well. After Tavares and Hedman were picked first and second, Duchene was selected third overall by the Colorado Avalanche. Growing up as an Avalanche fan, Duchene quickly became a fan favourite after video footage showed him pumping his fist after Hedman was selected second overall to the Tampa Bay Lightning, sealing his fate as an Avalanche draftee. Having played alongside Vancouver Canucks prospect Cody Hodgson, who had been selected tenth overall the previous year, in Brampton, Duchene sought draft advice from him over the course of the season. Duchene has drawn comparisons to such retired NHLers as Steve Yzerman and Joe Sakic, as well as current star Mike Richards.
Duchene notched his first career NHL point in his Avalanche debut on October 1, 2009, against the San Jose Sharks with an assist on a powerplay goal by defenceman John-Michael Liles. His first goal came later that month on October 17 against Chris Osgood in a 4–3 shootout win against the Detroit Red Wings. It was announced the next day that Duchene would spend the entire season with the Avalanche.
On November 30, 2009, he compiled his first two-goal NHL game in a 3–0 shutout victory against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The next game, against the Florida Panthers on December 2, 2009, Duchene tallied his second two-goal game and first three-point game of his career, scoring twice against Florida’s Scott Clemmensen and assisting on a goal by Chris Stewart in a 6–5 shootout loss. It marked the first time that an 18-year-old recorded back-to-back two-goal games in the NHL since Radek Dvorak did it with Florida in November 1995. Duchene was subsequently selected as the NHL rookie of the month for December 2009, scoring five goals and eight assists for 13 points in 14 games.
On April 6, 2010, the Avalanche had the opportunity to clinch a playoff berth with a victory against the Vancouver Canucks. Tied 3–3 after overtime, Duchene scored the game winning shootout goal against Roberto Luongo to send the Avalanche into the playoffs for the first time since 2008. Duchene finished his rookie NHL season third on the Avalanche in scoring with 55 points, and second in goals with 24. Among NHL rookies, he finished first in points, ahead of John Tavares by one, and tied with Tavares for first in goals. Duchene added three assists in six playoff games as the Avalanche were eliminated by the San Jose Sharks in the opening round. After completion of the season, he was selected to the NHL All-Rookie Team and placed third in Calder Trophy voting.
The following season, Duchene recorded his first five minute major for fighting, against opponent Vladimír Sobotka of the St. Louis Blues on November 15, 2010. Several months later, he was chosen to participate in his first NHL All-Star Game. During the contest, he became the first player in the NHL All-Star Game history to be awarded a penalty shot when Washington Capitals forward Alexander Ovechkin tossed his stick toward Duchene on a breakaway. Duchene’s attempt was turned away by Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers. Soon thereafeer, Duchene recorded his 100th career NHL point on January 26, 2011, with a goal against Phoenix Coyotes goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov in a 5-2 loss. The goal made him the youngest player in franchise history (including the Quebec Nordiques era) to record the milestone, beating Duchene’s boyhood idol, Joe Sakic. Duchene finished the season with 67 points and became the youngest player in Avalanche history to lead the team in scoring.
|Competitor for Canada|
|Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament|
|IIHF World U18 Championships|
|Competitor for Ontario|
|World U-17 Hockey Challenge|
Duchene made his international debut at the 2008 World U-17 Hockey Challenge. He scored 10 points in 6 games to help Team Ontario to a gold medal. The same year, he was named to Team Canada’s under-18 team for the 2008 IIHF World U18 Championships in April and selected as Captain at the 2008 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament in August and won two more gold medals at those tournaments. Playing in his second major junior season, Duchene took part in Team Canada’s junior camp for the 2009 World Junior Championships, but was cut.
Following his rookie season in the NHL, Duchene was added to Team Canada‘s roster for the 2010 IIHF World Championship in Germany. He made his full international debut, and recorded a goal and assist, in a 5-1 preliminary round win against Italy on May 8, 2010. Duchene finished the tournament with 4 goals for 7 points in 7 games after Canada was eliminated in the quarterfinal by Russia.
Duchene was added to Team Canada’s World Championship team in 2011 for a second consecutive season, following the Avalanche’s failure to make the playoffs. He was unable to repeat his point scoring performance from the previous year, going scoreless in 7 games as Canada finished in 5th place.