It wasn’t too long ago that Matt Duchene hit the first major rough patch of his NHL career. He missed a significant portion of the 2011-12 campaign due to a knee injury and wasn’t particularly effective when healthy.
Duchene ended up with just 14 goals and 28 points in 58 contests that season. That prompted the Colorado Avalanche to play hardball during his contract negotiations and led to his two-year, $7 million deal.
Rather than be discouraged by his struggles, Duchene used them as motivation.
“It was a real tough year, but I wanted to try and use it to learn and get better,” Duchene told the Denver Post.
He succeeded and that resulted in his recently signed five-year, $30 million deal.
After recording 43 points in 47 games, the 22-year-old forward is looking to take another step forward next season. It helps that new coach Patrick Roy plans to put him on an intriguing line. Duchene will play alongside Ryan O’Reilly, who is shifting from center to the left wing.
“I just talked some with Ryan [yesterday], and he’s going to be great on the wing. I think he’s played some there before, and I think he can be really strong there,” Duchene said.
P.A. Parenteau, who matched Duchene’s 43 points last season, will round out the line. We’ll see how long they stay together, but they’re certainly a talented trio.
The Calgary Flames have released Ryan Wilson from his professional tryout.
The 28-year-old was trying to make a comeback after missing 79 games with a shoulder injury last season.
Even with T.J. Brodie sidelined because of a broken hand, Wilson still faced long odds to make the final roster.
The veteran will be hard-pressed to find NHL work with another team.
He hasn’t suited up in more than 12 regular season games since 2011-12.
The Stockton Heat, Calgary’s AHL affiliate, also made some news on Sunday.
The club announced that they’ve signed Colton Orr to an AHL contract.
The 33-year-old tough guy suited up in just one game for the Toronto Maple Leafs last season. He has 12 seasons of NHL experience under his belt.
The Arizona Coyotes have returned Dylan Strome to the Erie Otters of the OHL.
Strome, 18, was the third overall pick in the 2015 NHL draft.
The 6’3, 185 pounder was hoping to stick with the Coyotes this season, but the team decided to take the conservative approach with their top prospect.
Strome will look to build off an incredible junior season that saw him score 45 goals and 129 points in 68 games.
Strome seems to be taking the demotion in stride.
The team also announced that they’ve assigned goaltender Louis Domingue and forward Matthias Plachta to their AHL affiliate in Springfield.
Domingue, 23, had a 1-2-1 record with a 2.73 goals-against-average and a .911 save percentage in seven games last season.
Plachta, a free agent signing, will begin his first pro season in North America. The 24-year-old had 14 goals and 35 points in the German League last season.