If the Avalanche didn't perform as poorly as it did in the final weeks of the 2008-09 season, Matt Duchene would not have been standing by a locker stall at the Family Sports Center on Monday. A 28th overall finish gave the Avs the third pick in the 2009 NHL draft, which they used to take the player who led all rookies in scoring his first season. If the season had ended Monday, the Avs would have chosen fourth in the upcoming draft. While many fans might wish the Avs would move even higher in the draft when the final 17 games are finished, Duchene wants to disappoint them. "We're not trying to tank to get a top-five pick," Duchene said. "We already have a lot of great prospects in the system. We'll obviously get a good one this year, and last year we got a great one (Joey Hishon) at 17. Wherever we pick we're going to get a good player, but that's not on our mind right now. We just want to win." That has only happened once in the past 16 games for the Avs entering tonight's contest with the Minnesota Wild at St. Paul, Minn. Duchene's drop-off in point production since the all-star break (one goal, three assists in 13 games) has been a contributing factor. Asked what it has been like for him personally through the long losing stretch, Duchene said: "It absolutely (stinks). It's the hardest thing I've ever been through. You don't really know where to go from here. It's something that's a new experience for me. I've played on bad teams before that have lost, but this is a good team that's just losing a lot of games right now. We were fourth in the conference not too long ago. It's unbelievable what's happened. We just want to go into the summer on a good note, and you want to get team chemistry to come in so you can have a great season next year."
Duchene aims to battle out of losing ways
Denver Post | Mar 8