Columnist says Avs should extend Duchene’s deal this summer


While it’s true that Matt Duchene struggled last season, it was still surprising to see the Colorado Avalanche sign him to a relatively cheap two-year, $7 million contract in the summer of 2012. After a resurgence in 2013, the Denver Post’s Adrian Dater is calling for the team to ink him to another contract extension this summer.

Beyond keeping their best player from 2013 (along with P.A. Parenteau) in the fold, Dater argues that it clarifies where Duchene stands among teammates such as Ryan O’Reilly.

By giving Duchene a rich new extension (I’m thinking five years, $30 million to $35 million sounds about right), they’ll make him the top dog on the pay scale again and keep a top young talent locked up for a good while. Because, as we saw with O’Reilly, you never know when things can get sideways at the negotiating table. Better to keep that possibility at arm’s length for as long as fiscally, sensibly possible. Besides, what if Duchene has a monster year next season on the final year of his contract? Maybe that $35 million will look cheap by then.

Dater believes the Avalanche will indeed get something done this summer (they can do so as early as June 22, the anniversary of his last deal).

Before you scoff at handing Duchene, 22, note the disparity between the young star’s numbers – alongside Parenteau’s – and Colorado’s next highest scorers:

Parenteau: 41 points
Ducehne: 40 points
Jamie McGinn: 22 points
Paul Stastny: 22 points

Even when you consider O’Reilly’s holdout and Stastny’s minor injury issues, that’s a stark difference. Some might say that’s enough evidence to get something done as soon as possible.

After PTO, Upshall signs one-year deal with Blues

Florida Panthers v Ottawa Senators
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Scottie Upshall has parlayed his training camp tryout into a contract with St. Louis.

On Monday, the Blues agreed to a one-year, two-way deal with the veteran forward, worth $700,000 at the NHL level. The deal comes after Upshall spent all of training camp and the preseason impressing the Blues his speed and skating ability, no small feat for a 31-year-old veteran with over 500 NHL games on his odometer.

But where Upshall fits in the Blues lineup — and within the organization — remains to be seen.

The club has plenty of depth up front and Upshall isn’t coming off a terrific campaign, having scored just eight goals and 15 points in 63 games with Florida last season. That said, he showed enough to be just one of a handful of veterans on PTOs to score a contract.

Panthers’ Crouse is going back to junior

2015 NHL Draft - Round One
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Lawson Crouse is going back to junior. The big 18-year-old winger confirmed it today on Twitter.

Crouse was drafted 11th overall in June by the Florida Panthers. Despite the club’s belief that Crouse could make “an immediate impact” on the roster, he finished the preseason with just two shots and one assist in three games.

Crouse will return to the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs, with whom he’ll look to improve on his modest point totals from last season.

“I don’t think there’s any pressure on the kid,” coach Gerard Gallant said last week. “If he doesn’t make the team this year he goes back to junior … and will have a lot of success.”