Skating: Duchene boasts the top-end speed to stretch the defense or tear right through the neutral zone. More importantly, he’s one of the most elusive forwards in the league. With sudden stops and starts, his explosive edge work allows him to create separation in situations where he seemingly has nowhere to go.
Hands: While his finish has dried up a bit in recent years, he still displays nifty hands in tight to maneuver around defenders and goaltenders. He also boasts terrific hand-eye coordination. He doesn’t necessarily use it to deflect point shots, but he can bat pucks toward the net with the best of them.
Faceoffs: He may not be deployed in defensive scenarios, but he remains a superb faceoff man nevertheless, winning well over half of his draws on a regular basis. This means his five-man unit—usually in the neutral or offensive zone—gets to start with possession more often than not.
Defense: He’s shown himself to be a decent defender when he feels like it. The problem is how infrequently he wants to put in the work. Typically, he prefers flying the zone or looking for poke-and-go rushes. He often loses inside position and seldom hustles back as hard as he can. Across a number of teams, he has always leaked goals during his shifts.
Tunnel Vision: Duchene is a capable scorer and playmaker, but he’s slow to switch between those two mindsets. Too often, he’ll insist on attempting the play he initially spotted despite a better option presenting itself in the interim. As fast as he skates, he doesn’t appear to think the game all that quickly.