October 20 2009, 9:17 AM
Perhaps as unexpected as the Broncos' 6-0 start is the 6-1-1 start by the Colorado Avalanche, one of hockey's biggest surprises of the early season. They're sitting at the top of the Northwest Conference with 13 points, partly because of rookie Matt Duchene. The Avs announced yesterday that Duchene won't be sent back to the juniors and will be on the roster for at least 10 games (via the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation). Duchene, an 18-year-old who looks more like a 13-year-old, has scored one goal and has three assists for four points in eight games. Apparently, Ryan O'Reilly, another rookie, will also remain on the roster past the 10-game mark, guaranteeing both rookies will be paid their full salaries. The Denver Post reports the move ensures both players will stay on the roster for the entire year. O'Reilly has six points in eight games, including one goal (via NHL.com). The most important factor in the team's long-term success, however, is the play of goalie Craig Anderson. The first-year Avs member has been solid for the team this year, posting a .935 save percentage and a 2.09 goals-against average. Anderson was named the league's second star for the week ending October 18, reports The Denver Post, for being the winning goalie in four consecutive road games for the Avalanche last week.