With his team on pace for the worst regular season in franchise history, Matt Duchene is dealing with his own personal ignominy.
“This is probably the worst (slump) I’ve ever been through,” Duchene told the Denver Post on Monday, after his pointless streak hit 11 games. “It’s been pretty crazy just in terms of how bad it’s gone.
“Sometimes you can’t really read too much into it and just realize it’s part of the game.”
The Avs lost 1-0 against the Coyotes last night, a result that’s hardly new for Duchene and company. Colorado is the worst offensive team in hockey — averaging 1.9 goals per game — and has been shut out in three of its last eight games.
Duchene’s production has fallen off a cliff. He has just one goal in his last 25 contests, a dramatic reversal after scoring a career-best 30 last season.
Though it’s easy to pin his offensive woes on his situation — the Avs could end up being the worst team of the salary cap era — one has to wonder how big a hit Duchene’s stock is taking. It’s widely anticipated Colorado GM Joe Sakic will look to try and move Duchene and/or captain Gabriel Landeskog this summer, and it’ll be curious to see what teams would be willing to offer up in exchange.
Duchene is still only 26 years old, an elite skater and could still crack the 20-goal plateau this season (for a team that’s historically bad on offense). But he only has two years left on a five-year, $30 million contract that carries at $6 million average annual cap hit.
That’s not a lot of term left. Any team interested in bringing Duchene aboard does so with the looming specter of unrestricted free agency in 2019.