Columnist says Avs should extend Duchene’s deal this summer

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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.