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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.

It means a lot to us, we're very excited. We're looking to continue to build on [our] top core talent of young players. It's just a great opportunity for us to really build high.

— Panthers vice president of hockey operations Travis Viola after Florida won the No. 1 pick in the NHL Draft Lottery