Forward Anthony Duclair has been with five NHL teams in his short six-year career. Lately, he has been playing with the Ottawa Senators. He was traded from the Columbus Blue Jackets in February of 2019 in the Ryan Dzingel deal. This past season Duclair played with a one-year contract worth $1.65 million. He rejected a qualifying offer presented to him by the Sens. He is now an unrestricted free agent… at the young age of 25. Duclair is representing himself in lieu of having an agent do his negotiations for a new contract. And since he rejected the QO from Ottawa, that probably means he is looking for a new employer.
Anthony Duclair is Searching For a New Team
Anthony Duclair scored 23 goals and 17 assists in 66 games last season. He has certainly gained some maturity. At this point, he believes he is worth more than his last contract and certainly more than what Sens general manager Pierre Dorion offered him. As far as representing himself to get a new contract done, he was advised by Dorion not to do that.
“All I will say about the situation is that Anthony chose to represent himself,” Dorion said. “We told him from Day One that it’s not always easy to represent himself.
“We offered him a substantial raise over what he made last year and it’s unfortunate we couldn’t come to a contract agreement. [We] don’t close the door on anything, but he will explore free agency.”
So, apparently Duclair is searching for a new home… again.
Where Would Duclair Fit in The Most?
Most of the big-name free agents are signed. That may mean Duclair could have some difficulty cutting a deal with a team. With the restrictive pandemic caused salary cap stuck at $81.5 million, there are few teams with extra cap space who may be interested in his services. If Duclair is looking for an approximate pay hike in the $3-3.5 million range, there are only about 15 teams who can fit that into their cap space budget.
Obviously, back during the 2017-18 season, Duclair was with the Arizona Coyotes and he wasn’t very happy with his playing time. He requested a trade and was sent to the Chicago Blackhawks along with Adam Clendening for Richard Panik and Laurent Dauphin in February 2019. Seeing that the Coyotes are starving for offence… of any kind, would they consider taking back Duclair? It’s not likely since then (and still) head coach Rick Tocchet didn’t seem too impressed with his play.
Of course, that was then and this is now. He is a completely different player, and since the Coyotes have more than adequate cap space after next season they could backload a long-term deal to accommodate Duclair. Just think… he could settle down and stay in one place (hopefully) for a while.
The Dallas Stars almost got to raise the Cup, but the Tampa Bay Lightning had something else in mind. They could use Duclair’s youth and speed. The Stars were very close to their goal of winning it all, and Duclair could add some offensive firepower they seemed to lack most of the year. They only had one player who tallied 20 goals and that was Denis Gurianov. With a good group of veterans, Dallas may be a good landing place for Duclair. If Duclair hasn’t called Jim Nill yet, he should.
New York Islanders
Another team starving for some offence. Of course, they still haven’t signed their star forward Mathew Barzal and that may take quite a bit of their remaining $8.9 million of cap space. The New York Islanders could make some other moves to create cap space and we all know that Lou Lamoriello is a magician who works miracles when it comes to managing cap space. He also knows that his team was not scoring enough goals and thus was eliminated by the Lightning in the Eastern Conference Final. Don’t ever underestimate Lou’s capabilities. He’s got tricks he hasn’t even used yet.
This team has always had potential, but then they crash and burn. They only have 11 forwards under contract, and they could also use an injection of scoring to help their cause. The Nashville Predators were ranked 17th in scoring, so Duclair could certainly help in raising that standing. He wouldn’t mind going there since there are two former Coyotes players on their roster in Nick Cousins and Brad Richardson. Duclair could really excel here and the possibilities are good since the Preds currently have $12.9 million in cap space. Do I hear “let’s make a deal?”
Well, nobody predicted that the Buffalo Sabres would land Taylor Hall... so why not adding Duclair? He could be around great players such as Jack Eichel, Victor Olofsson, and Rasmus Dahlin. He could even make up for the dismal scoring performance from Jeff Skinner if he can pot 20-25 goals. The Sabres have the money with $13.6 million of cap space available. They still need to come to terms with Sam Reinhart and Olofsson but may have enough left over to offer Duclair a piece of the pie.
New Jersey Devils
It’s not certain what the New Jersey Devils are planning. They have just nine forwards and five defencemen under contract for next season. The Devils have been quiet so far this off-season. They are going to need to fill out their roster. The Devils have $18.3 million in cap space available to spend and they need to do some shopping. Another scoring forward could certainly be on their list. Duclair would gladly accommodate them as they intend to get the rebuild geared up. It’s a young group in New Jersey, and Duclair could really help them.
Anthony Duclair has been around and it’s a certainty that he wants to find a place where he can settle down and feel like he is contributing. There are quite a few teams he could contact to ascertain if they are interested in his services. He has lots to offer and we shall see which team he will call home. It’s somewhat strange that he and Max Domi were such good friends and both of them have played (or will play in Domi’s case) for the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Now, it’s time for Duclair to get down to business and get on with his objective of winning a Cup. Isn’t that every hockey player’s dream?