Matt Duchene
Matt Duchene
28-Year-Old CenterC
Nashville Predators
2019 Fantasy Outlook
Picked up from Ottawa at the trade deadline, the pending free agent immediately become the Blue Jackets' most talented center since Ryan Johansen left town. Duchene's brief tenure in Columbus was erratic at best, however. He managed only four goals and 12 points in 23 regular-season games for the club, and while he was a key figure in the first-round sweep of Tampa Bay, the 28-year-old faded back into the woodwork in the second-round loss to Boston. All told, he set a career high with 31 goals and tied his previous best with 70 points in 2018-19, a performance good enough to earn a seven-year, $56 million contract from the Predators. Duchene will center one of the top two lines (with Johansen anchoring the other, an unpleasant sight for Columbus fans), and he should have enough skill around him to potentially match last season's production. Read Past Outlooks
$Duchene signed a seven-year, $56 million contract with the Predators in July of 2019.
Stays hot with goal, assist
CNashville Predators
October 10, 2019
Duchene scored a goal on five shots and added an assist in Thursday's 6-5 win over Washington.
The 28-year-old center already has eight points in his first four games as a Predator, but tonight's goal was his first of the season. He's tallied two or more points in all but one game this year. It's dangerous to draw conclusions from a four-game sample, but Duchene could top the 70 points he put up in 73 games last year with Ottawa and Columbus.
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
Duchene took a while to get going last year after being acquired from Colorado, but he came on toward the end of the season. He scored 16 of his 23 goals with Ottawa during the final two months, making himself a valuable option for owners who had him during the playoffs. This season, Duchene could be a bit undervalued because of his struggles in the first four months of the season, along with the low expectations surrounding his team. You aren't likely to get him near the end of a draft due to name recognition, though he could be a steal in the middle rounds if he's able to replicate the production he had a season ago.
Duchene is coming off the worst full season of his career, in which he posted his lowest point total since 2011-12 (41) while blowing away his previous worst of minus-12 with a minus-34 rating that tied teammate Tyson Barrie for last in the NHL. He was far from the only Colorado player to struggle during the Avalanche’s forgettable 2016-17 campaign, so it’s possible that they will bounce back as a group and play more like the team that averaged 86 points per season over the previous two. At just 26 years of age, Duchene certainly has time to get back on an upward trajectory and should once again feature on the first line and top power-play unit. He should be the second Av off the board after Nathan MacKinnon — assuming he’s still in Denver come October.
Duchene was poised to hit 60 points for the third time in his career this past season, but an untimely knee injury muddied his campaign late in the year, leaving Colorado on the outside looking in and unable to clinch a playoff berth. The 25-year-old still led the team in offensive production, reaching 30 goals for the first time in his NHL career, but he still left plenty to be desired. The third overall pick in 2009 hasn't been the same guy who dropped 70 points in the 2013-14 season, even with the plethora of talent surrounding him. Still, Duchene’s role is cemented on the top line, and if he continues to fire on goal with consistency (200-plus shots in three straight seasons), the 25-year-old could repeat his 30-tally performance and return to being the explosive center that the Avs expect him to be.
Duchene has "rebound season" written all over him. The 24-year-old's struggles mirrored those of his team in 2014-15, as he notched just 55 points in 82 games. While that’s a respectable output for your average top-six guy, more was expected from the speedy center after he scored at a point-per-game clip the year before. But even in what was widely considered a career season in 2013-14, Duchene only scored 23 goals, and seems to have taken on more of a distributing role since finding twine a career-best 27 times in 2010-11. On the other hand, Duchene has fired over 200 shots on goal in two straight seasons and continues to see top power-play time, so writing him off as a potential 30-goal scorer may be a tad premature. Even if the goals again remain in the low-20 range, Duchene is surrounded by too much talent not to improve on last season's point total. With two quality snipers among Nathan MacKinnon, Jarome Iginla, Alex Tanguay, or Gabriel Landeskog set to flank him this season and young, offensive-minded blue line talents in Tyson Barrie, Erik Johnson, and Nikita Zadorov expected to join him on the power play, Duchene may be in a more favorable situation now than he enjoyed two years ago.
After the lockout-shortened campaign saw Duchene rack up 43 points in 47 games, the Canadian Olympian further solidified himself as a true point-per-game threat in 2013-14 with a career-high 70 points in 71 games. The 23-year-old stud center also recorded career-bests in assists (47), plus/minus (plus-8), game-winning goals (six) and shots on goal (217), all while facing the opposition's best defenders. The man they call "Dutchy" is in a near-perfect situation in Denver. He may be the Avs' best player and arguably the face of the franchise, but he's surrounded by a cast of several other stars in Ryan O'Reilly, Nathan MacKinnon, captain Gabe Landeskog and the newly-acquired Jarome Iginla, who all can take the pressure off of him. There's a good chance he'll get to play with one or both of the big-bodied Landeskog and Iginla with regularity this season, and those two should create even more room for Duchene to dipsy-doodle around defenders and create havoc with his blazing speed. Furthermore, his 71 points tied him for 16th overall in league scoring last season, but if all goes well -- especially with the addition of Iginla as a linemate both at even strength and on the power play -- Duchene is a prime candidate to crack the top-10 in scoring while flirting with 80 points.
Fresh off a five-year contract extension, Duchene is now the face of the franchise and will center the team's top line. Duchene tied for the team lead in points last season with 43 in 47 games. The speedy, 22 year-old center already has 193 points in his first four NHL seasons (266 games). The Avs are a young, offensive-minded team that will win games by scoring, which makes this potential point-per-game producer a very good fantasy option.
Duchene missed a huge chunk of last season to knee and ankle injuries, playing just 58 games and scoring 28 points (14G, 14A), falling well short of the 67 points he registered in his sophomore season. Assuming he comes back healthy, there's no reason to believe he can't return to being the 55-65 point player he was in his first two seasons. Remember – at just 21 years of age, Duchene has yet to hit his prime and should only continue to get better. After last season, many of your fellow fantasy owners will have dropped him a few spots on their depth charts, so be prepared to pick him up on the cheap.
Last season, Duchene celebrated his sophomore campaign by leading the Avs in total points (67), and tying for first in goals (27) and assists (40). At just 20 years old, Duchene has undeniably become the face of the Avs franchise and a leader both on the ice and in the dressing room. On a fantasy basis, Duchene's supporting cast became a tad weaker last season following the departures of linemate Chris Stewart and budding defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk to St. Louis. However, this did not seem to slow him down much, as Duchene still managed to score 20 points (6A, 14A) in his last 23 games following the trade, with the help of linemates Paul Stastny and Milan Hejduk. Furthermore, there is more help on the way in the form of second-overall draft pick Gabriel Landeskog. This season, expect more of the same from Duchene as he continues his rapid development into one of the NHL's elite players. A point-per-game season should be well within his grasp this year.
At just 18 years old, Duchene enjoyed a very successful rookie season with the Avalanche, finishing third in scoring with 55 points, and second in goals with 24. Among NHL rookies, he finished first in points, and tied for first in goals. Despite this, he finished third in voting for the Calder Trophy for the NHL's top rookie, behind winner Tyler Myers and second place Jimmy Howard. Duchene also added three assists in six playoff games for the Avs as they were eliminated by the Sharks in the opening round. With his skill set and stellar supporting cast, Duchene has excellent fantasy upside heading into next season. He is expected to return as the team’s second-line center alongside Milan Hejduk and Peter Mueller.
Duchene was arguably the best two-way player in this year's draft and projects as a point-per-game, first-line center in as little as three to four years. Duchene has one more year of junior eligibility, but the Avs will not hesitate to promote him to the NHL level this year, if they feel he is ready. With only T.J. Galiardi, T.J. Hensick and possibly Ryan Stoa as his only competition for the center position this season, Duchene could find himself anchoring the team's second line before too long.
More Fantasy News
Huge impact in new uniform
CNashville Predators
October 5, 2019
Duchene tallied two assists Saturday in a 5-3 loss to Detroit.
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Immediate impact in Preds debut
CNashville Predators
October 3, 2019
Duchene dished out a trio of helpers in Thursday's 5-2 win over the Wild.
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Officially courted by Nashville
CNashville Predators
July 1, 2019
Duchene signed a seven-year, $56 million contract with the Predators on Monday, Adam Vingan of The Athletic reports.
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Expected to sign with Predators
CColumbus Blue Jackets
June 30, 2019
Duchene is expected to join Nashville when free agency begins, Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports reports.
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Headed for free agency
CColumbus Blue Jackets
May 8, 2019
Duchene will consider all available options this offseason, including Columbus, when evaluating where he wants to play in 2019-20 and beyond, Jeff Svoboda of Jackets' Insider reports.
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