The question was not what is the most surprising positive, but what was the biggest positive, and to me that is Duchene not only rebounding, but playing easily his best yet, and showing signs he is back on track to reaching or even exceeding the potential he had when drafted. That is the biggest sign for the Avalanche's future in my mind. Sure it was reasonable to expect an improvement from Duchene over last year's performance, but to answer all of the doubts that were raised in such a resounding manner is the biggest difference versus what we would all be feeling if he had again struggled with the spin moves and using his linemates like last season. Parenteau was a great match, but I credit most of the turnaround to Duchene maturing and changing his approach and rededicating himself.
The coaching change has the potential to become just as important. Let's hope it turns out a change for the better.
Recently, one of the positives which is exciting me the most is that the young defensemen have provided confidence in my mind of what I suspected many of the team's problems to be, and that is that the previous defensemen's puck abilities were severely limiting the entire team's potential, even on the offensive side of the game. The problems aren't solved yet, but I saw enough with the young guys to make me believe that once we have improved our D-core so that isn't so poor with the puck (or maybe even quite good with the puck), the rest of this team's potential will begin to be unlocked again like we saw glimpses of at times in previous seasons.
Duchene for me. He's gotten much stronger and he is using his speed more effectively, I think ive heard on multiple broadcasts by other commentators this year that he may be the fastest guy in the western conference.
Duchene looked like a new player to me. He almost completely removed those stupid spin moves from his game, or at least came up with some other moves, and he very obviously got stronger over the summer. He actually hits people now, and he's hard to take off the puck. He also looked stronger on takeaways than even O'Reilly (granted we didn't see a normal season from ROR), and he's really worked on his faceoffs. He's by far our most dangerous offensive player and the rest of his game got better as well. Also, he seems to have grown up a bit from all the interviews I saw this year -- just seems to have a veteran air about him now.