By Jack Fenty
As all hockey fans know, the Matt Duchene era in Colorado is over after a crazy and rumor filled summer after he requested a trade from the team. Joe Sakic the general manager of the Avalanche eventually did trade Duchene to Ottawa in a three-way deal between the Preds, Avs, and Sens. Colorado reciieved picks and Nashville received Kyle Turris from Ottawa. What seemed like a huge loss for the Avs might be a case of addition with subtraction.
The statistics: Before Duchene was traded on November 5th in the middle of the game of the New York Islanders the Avalanche were off to a surprising 8-5 start to the regular season. Most people did not believe this team was going to be able to handle this winning pace since the previous season they were 22-56-4 and finished last in the central division with 48 points. Now back to this season after November 5th the Avalanche have escalated their play and are 17-11-5 which a total record of 25-16-3 which puts them in the second wild card spot in the western conference and are only 6 points behind the Blues with 4 games in hand. They are also on an 8-game winning streak going into a matinee matchup with the Rangers on Saturday afternoon.
How: The re-emergence of Nathan Mackinnon. Mackinnon, only 22 years old, is having a hart caliber season for the Colorado Avalanche. He has 22 goals, 35 assists for a total of 57 points in 44 games. With that stat line he has passed his point total for the previous three seasons and is 6 points away from tying his rookie season and career high total with 63 points. With no Duchene in the lineup Mackinnon has thrived as the center piece of this team’s offense along with the captain Gabriel Landeskog.
Bottom-Line: You would be foolish to say that Matt Duchene was not toxic in that locker room, the fact that this team has had such a turn around shows that. I am sure the players in that locker room were happy to see Duchene leave, no one wants a guy in their locker-room who does not want to be there. Will they make the playoffs? We will have to see but Colorado is a great hockey city and it is awesome to see them winning again.
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