Not only do the #FlaPanthers extend defenseman Gus Forsling, but they sign Anthony Duclair for three years as well. Like Forsling, ‘The Duke’ will be protected from Seattle in the upcoming expansion draft. https://t.co/JwLgKQBVBz
— George Richards (@GeorgeRichards) July 15, 2021
Anthony Duclair Signed With Florida Panthers
Over his seven-year NHL career, Duclair played between the Panthers, Ottawa Senators, Arizona Coyotes, Columbus Blue Jackets, Chicago Blackhawks and New York Rangers. Originally drafted in the third round, 80th overall of the 2013 NHL draft by the Rangers, the 25-year-old will be staying in Florida.
His career totals sit at 89 goals and 105 assists for 194 total points, in 396 games. Last year, Duclair scored 10 goals and 22 assists for 32 points in 43 contests. His career-high came a season earlier, with 23 goals in the COVID-shortened season in which he played 66 games.
Duclair, for whatever reason, has struggled thus far in his career to find a home with any given team. It’s a bit of a headscratcher, too. His Corsi-for percentage resides at an impressive 54.0 percent across his career, with a relative marker of 6.7 percent. So, he possesses the puck well. Plus, Duclair drives offence with his tremendous speed, twice reaching the 20-goal plateau.
Despite that, he played just 23 games in a half-season with the Blackhawks. Then, the season after played only 53 with the Blue Jackets before getting dealt again, this time to Ottawa. With the Senators, he played 87 games over two seasons, because he was acquired midway through his first year and traded again midway through his second. The Panthers signed him to a one-year contract ahead of 2020-21, and are thankful they did.
What This Means for the Future
Duclair has faced regular adversity, between numerous trades mid-season and other instances where he’s been a healthy scratch. With Florida, though, he skated on the first line regularly alongside elite centreman Aleksander Barkov. On the opposite wing, Carter Verhaeghe experienced a breakout season, scoring 36 points (19 goals) in just 43 games. That trio was tremendous all season long, one that Florida is excited about moving forward.
Expect to see a lot more of Duclair next season, flying down the wing and creating space for his linemates. That’s pretty effective when one of the guys you’re creating space for is an elite playmaking centre. Getting Anthony Duclair signed was a top priority for sophomore general manager Bill Zito. Ultimately, the deal keeps the Panthers’ top line intact ahead of the 2021-22 season.