Avalanche lock up Matt Duchene for five years

Last month, the Colorado Avalanche drafted Nathan MacKinnon first overall in hopes that he can become a cornerstone player for their franchise. On Thursday, the Avalanche extended the contract of a superstar already on their roster.

Matt Duchene signed a five-year, $30 million extension with Colorado, according to the Denver Post, keeping him with the team through at least 2019.

“In 2009, I was thrilled to have been selected by the Avalanche, my favorite team. I have worn this uniform with pride in my first four professional seasons in Denver, and I appreciate the organization believing in me for the long-term future,” Duchene said in a statement released by the team.

Following two strong seasons to start his NHL career, Duchene took a step back in 2011-12 while battling injuries. He responded with 43 points in 47 games last year, showing the skills that make the 22-year-old one of the most exciting players in the league.

Duchene has 82 goals and 111 points for a total of 193 points in 266 regular season games. He also added three assists in Colorado’s first round playoff loss to the San Jose Sharks in 2010. He was selected to play in the All-Star Game in 2010-11 and is already 30th on the franchise’s all-time scorers list.

With Duchene and MacKinnon, along with 20-year-old captain Gabriel Landeskog, the Avalanche should be one of the better offensive teams in hockey for years to come.

“We all felt that it was important for us to secure [Duchene’s] rights for several seasons. With his great skill, speed and character, he represents the identity we want the Avalanche to be,” Executive VP of Hockey Operations for the Avalanche Joe Sakic added.

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