Anthony Duclair was never a projected to be a top-talent in the NHL but he was expected to be better than he has currently panned out to be. Duclair was drafted in 2013, 3rd round 19th pick (80th overall) by the New York Rangers.
Duclair played 18 games in 2014-15 with the Rangers collecting 7 points, he was quickly sent to Arizona part of the Keith Yandle trade. With Arizona he played 172 games tallying 74 points (his longest tenure), then was sent to Chicago for Richard Panik. He played 23 games collecting 8 points. He was released by Chicago and quickly picked up by Columbus, playing 53 games for 19 points.
Now as we know he was sent to Ottawa in the Ryan Dzingel trade. Duclair will look for a fresh start in Ottawa as he begins to play with his fifth team in five years. His third team in two years.
John Tortorella has been very clear and up-front about Duclair’s struggles in Columbus. For a player that is 5″11 and 190+ lbs and has a very similar structure to his game like the Wild’s forward Jordan Greenway. Duclair has really struggled to stay consistent in the NHL. Duclair has the speed and size, he works hard in the offensive zone and works well along the boards but it seems from what Coach Tortorella said about Duclair is that he does not play both sides of the puck well nor is situationally aware and lacks the hockey IQ.
As John Tortella said four days ago about Duclair:
“I don’t think he knows how to play, I don’t,” Tortorella said. “It seems to me he’s like a player who feels he can get the puck because he’s tremendously skilled. He can skate. He has all those things you guys know. I just think he thinks he can go do whatever the hell he wants to do on the ice. You can’t do it in the National Hockey League.
“We have spent a lot of time trying to teach him, trying to teach him situational play, away from the puck. All the stuff we do with players. Sometimes, it looks like he is understanding. So to answer your question, I don’t know. I don’t know if he can’t comprehend it or if he’s just stubborn. But he is running out of time.”
Per The Athletic Tom Reed.
Will Ottawa be a good place for Duclair? Who knows, he grew up in Pointe-Claire Quebec so perhaps heading back “home” to Canada to play for a Canadian franchise could be good for Duclair. It worked for Max Domi and Jonathan Drouin but Duclair will not have much on his roster to help him really propel his game. Although with Ottawa basically a guaranteed first overall pick team right now and having not many to no super stars it may be good for Duclair. Duclair is only 23-years-old and has plenty of time to get an identity to his game and fix his weak areas but like Tortella said his time is definitely running slim.