Gaetan Duchesne enjoyed a successful 14-year NHL career with five different teams. As an eighth-round draft pick, 152nd overall in 1981, Duchesne surprised even the Washington Capitals, the club that selected him, by earning a roster spot in his rookie camp in the fall of 1982.
In that first season, Duchesne scored 18 goals and 19 assists for 37 points in 77 games. Duchesne's best individual season was in 1986-87, which turned out to be his last year in Washington. He netted 17 goals and 35 assists for 52 points.
For the 1987-88 season, Duchesne had the opportunity to play before his hometown fans in Quebec City. During his two seasons with the Nordiques he had 32 goals and 44 assists for 76 points.
Over the next four years, Duchesne laced up his skates with the Minnesota North Stars. The pinnacle of his career occurred in the 1991 playoffs when the North Stars shocked the hockey world by advancing all the way to the Stanley Cup finals. Only Mario Lemieux and the Pittsburgh Penguins prevented Minnesota from hoisting Lord Stanley's Cup. Playing in that Cup final provided the greatest memories for Duchesne in his lengthy career.
Duchesne next played for a year-and-a-half in northern California with the San Jose Sharks before finishing out the 1994-95 season with the Florida Panthers. In 1996-97, the IHL Atlanta Knights moved relocated to Quebec City and Duchesne jumped at the opportunity to play for his hometown a second time. The NHL veteran would play two seasons with the club, serving as player-assistant coach in 1996-97.
Over the course of the next two seasons Duchesne stayed away from the rink, yet he returned as an assistant coach for the QMJHL's Quebec Remparts. Duchesne spent two seasons behind the bench with his old junior club before stepping down following the 2001-02 season.
Gaetan Duchesne played in 1,028 games, scored 179 goals and 254 assists for 433 points.