Thread: Matt Duchene
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11-06-2012, 12:11 PM
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Originally Posted by ABasin View Post
There are a number of reasons why. However, one must take a deeper look into the details of his play, rather than just throwing up basic annual scoring stats from his first two years, in order to understand the reasons.

That's actually not quite accurate. Duchene was healthy until getting hurt against Phoenix at the very end of the calendar year - in game 39. So, he wasn't injured 'almost all of last year'. He was injured for the 2nd half.

There are several reasons. One, while healthy for the first half of last season, he had put up 24 points - about a 50 point pace. While not an ugly output per se, it was certainly a downgrade from the 55 and 67 point seasons he had put up before. A certain level of improved play was absolutely expected, but didn't materialize.

But taking a closer look at the details of his play, in particular his pre-injury output from last year, Duchene scored 1 goal over the (approx) first few weeks of the season, then scored 8 goals over an 11 day (8 game) stretch, then scored 3 goals over the (approx) next 6 weeks prior to his injury. His assists were a bit more spread out. So, over most of the games in the first half of the season, he was largely irrelevant offensively.

However, the other negative issues that people bring up in regards to Duchene - which also require looking a bit deeper into the details of his play - revolve around A) his continued inability to use his linemates effectively; B) his continued repeated (again, and again, and again) junior league spinorama moves in the offensive zone that result in turnovers almost every time, and his seeming inability to sense where to put the puck or himself on the ice; and C) his continued generally lazy, uninspired play at times. These three things have been problems (at least part of the time) since he stepped onto NHL ice 3 years ago, and some of us simply haven't seen improvement in these areas, regardless of the results.

I'm sorry, but all of that is legitimate cause for concern.

Hope that helps.
That's pretty accurate. The only thing I would disagree with is that his first NHL season was probably his best in terms of two-way play. (I don't think he was bad defensively at all during his first pro season)

His second season saw a bigger shift towards offense, especially after we acquired Flash and if the wheels hadn't fallen off the whole team completely from February to April (a time period where iirc the entire team failed to produce even 2 goals-per-game) he would have probably reached 80 points. We did start to see some shifts where he seemed to be 'mailing-it-in' defensively speaking.

Last year was a disaster. We saw him try to put the whole team on his back and try to do too much and failed time and time again.

It is important to note though, that this certainly wouldn't be the first time that a young, offensive-minded player took some time to mature and 'buy-in' to becoming more of a two-way presence. While from a different era, Steve Yzerman immediately comes to mind. I remember reading articles about how Bryan Murray (then GM of the Red Wings) was actually contemplating trading him because of his lack of defensive awareness or what have you. Yzerman was 24-25 years old at the time and he ended up being a two-way force with the right mindset and good coaching.

Patience is key here but there certainly ARE reasons for concern, especially when you see the player seemingly develop bad habits (lazy backcheck) and either the coach is letting it slide (unlikely <- I would like to think ) or it's not sinking it.

Generally though, with players like that, it just takes time and proper coaching to get some of that 'immaturity' out of his game. We've all seen him play some strong two-way games and it's going to be up to him to realize that it's even more impressive to play a consistently strong two-way game (like RoR did last year) than it is to score a highlight reel goal and end up on Sportscenter every week.

I'm banking that bringing in a guy like Parenteau will help Duchene get his groove back and while I don't expect him to instantly get all the kinks out, I think we'll see some improvements in that regard this season (if there is one).

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