Shortly after the Chicago Blackhawks acquired Anthony Duclair on Wednesday night, Arizona Coyotes general manager John Chayka made some very interesting comments about the young forward.
“It’s gone back for a few years now, where the team wasn’t particularly happy with the player and the player wasn’t particularly happy with the team,” he said. “You see Anthony play and his speed and skill is obvious to everyone. There are also some things that I think should stay behind closed doors.”
There have been rumblings about Duclair’s work ethic and attitude for a while now and there has to be something to it as he has moved on to his third franchise before his 23rd birthday. Sometimes a player just needs to get into the right situation to have it click.
After all, there were some of the same things being said about Alex DeBrincat which many believe is why he was left off the World Junior Championship roster and dropped to the second round of the draft. There has been no talk about attitude or being lazy since arriving in Chicago, so hopefully the same will go for Duclair.
There is no doubt Duclair has talent and his speed is downright sexy. He scored 116 goals and 249 points in 203 games for the Quebec Remparts of the QMJHL, which got him drafted by the New York Rangers in the third-round of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. His potential was so great that the Coyotes insisted he was part of the return in the trade for defenseman Keith Yandle.
No matter what Duclair does with the Blackhawks going forward, this was a good trade for Stan Bowman. He added another young player to the mix; as he pointed out last night, the Blackhawks now have 13 players on the roster under the age of 25. They had four last season. Duclair’s speed is a big upgrade over Richard Panik’s.
Bowman also will save $1.6 million in salary cap this season, which they can use to sign Dylan Sikura in March when his season and career with Northeastern University comes to an end.
The worst case scenario is that Duclair is a bust and he is not brought back after the season, saving even more cap space next year. Best case scenario, his skill set fits in well with the Blackhawks and he becomes a young, cheap and valuable member of the roster going forward. Either way, the Blackhawks come out ahead.
The team announced earlier that Duclair will wear number 91. He will be just the second player to wear that number in franchise history. Of course we all remember Brad Richards lifting the Stanley Cup in his 91 sweater.