Avalanche forward Matt Duchene: I’ll be ready for my rookie season

By Mark FergusPublished February 08, 2017 09:50:50Colorado Avalanche forward Mark Duchene said he expects to play his first NHL game on March 14 against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Duchene will be a rookie for the Avalanche this season, but he has been cleared to play by his doctors to begin training camp.

Duke’s Nikita Soshnikov also cleared to begin his rookie season in 2017-18.

“It’s always good to get your hands on your team, and hopefully I can help them out,” Duchene told the team’s official website on Wednesday.

Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm, who is in the final year of his contract, has also been cleared.

The Avalanche’s top two scorers in the NHL this season are Mikko Koivu (22 points) and Alex Tanguay (23 points).

Duchen leads the NHL in goals (28) and assists (22) with an average of 10:05 of ice time per game.

He’s also the Avalanche’s leading scorer on the power play with 14 goals and 26 points.

Duck Jordan Schroeder leads the Avalanche in scoring with 12 goals and 20 points.