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Round 2
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Stanley Cup Final

Avalanche agree to 2-year deal with Duchene

Saturday, 06.23.2012 / 11:21 AM / News

Associated Press

DENVER (AP) - The Colorado Avalanche have locked up one of their promising young forwards, signing Matt Duchene to a two-year deal.

The 21-year-old played in just 58 games last season as he dealt with knee and ankle injuries. He had 14 goals and 14 assists.

Duchene had his first career hat trick Nov. 4 at Dallas, becoming the first Avalanche player to record that feat before his 21st birthday since Radim Vrbata in 2001-02.

A dynamic forward, Duchene was drafted third overall in 2009. He made the All-Star team in 2010-11 and became the youngest player in franchise history to lead the squad in scoring.

After Saturday's signing, the Avs face big decisions on other restricted free agents such as leading scorer Ryan O'Reilly, who was drafted the same year as Duchene.

I've been getting frustrated lately, and the only thing keeping me sane was the team winning and other people stepping up and scoring. Then you just kind of let it go and realize you can end the series with one shot, that frustration goes away for a brief moment, and that's what happened.

— Montreal forward Max Pacioretty after scoring the OT winner in Game 4 -- his first career playoff goal -- to eliminate the Lightning and send the Canadiens into the second round