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Anthony Duclair: Why is he still unsigned?


Anthony Duclair

Anthony Duclair is still filled with potential as displayed by his first successful season with the Arizona Coyotes. So why has he still not signed a contract?

Anthony Duclair had a terrible season in 2016/17

With his dismal showing last season, Duclair realizes that his bargaining powers have diminished considerably towards signing a lucrative contract for the upcoming season.

GM John Chayka said as much recently when he met with azcentral.com’s beat writer for the Coyotes, Sarah McLellan. “It’s going to be a one- or two-year deal,” General Manager John Chayka said. “That’s where we’re at. We’ve talked. We understand where each other’s at.”

Duclair was also on the rumor mill to be traded while he was in his sophomore tailspin last season. Nothing happened, but it is curious to realize that he is still unsigned after being presented with a qualifying offer recently.

Duclair’s salary cap hit was $772,500, and he became a restricted free agent on July 1, 2017. Jordan Martinook signed a new two-year contract on July 22, 2017, after filing for arbitration 17 days prior. He got a two-year $3.6 million contract. Thus far, that hasn’t happened for Anthony Duclair, whose nickname on the team is “Duke”.

Anthony Duclair

More on GM Chayka’ view on signing Duclair:

“That’s just the reality of the situation,” Chayka said. “I like ‘Duke’ as a player a lot, as a person a lot, but he had a rough year. I think it’s more just about getting him back on the horse, getting him going. For both the team and the player, short-term is the best.”

Many fans that follow the Arizona Coyotes were pulling for the 2015 World Junior gold medalist to turn around his season.

It never happened.

One factor that could have caused it was when Max Domi got injured and missed 23 games, Duclair was lost without him.

A new line, a new result?

If Duclair comes to terms with the Arizona Coyotes and signs a contract, he will more than likely be lining up with his buddy Domi, and newly acquired center Derek Stepan. This could be the salvation Duclair needs to resurrect his still infant NHL career. He needs a center-iceman who can get him the puck, and he needs to shoot more often.

Just taking a look at the statistics showing his lack of shot production and shot percentage from his first season in Arizona to last season tells it all.

 

SEASONTMGPGAPTSSOGS%
2014-15NYR18167185.6
2015-16ARI8120244410519
2016-17ARI5851015766.6
2 yrsARI13925345918113.8
1 yrNYR18167185.6
Totals 15726406619913.1

Hopefully, his numbers will improve if he gets placed on the first line. That is a BIG if considering for whatever reason he has not grabbed a pen to sign even a one-year contract. He still needs to show that he is out of his funk and back to being a top-line forward again.

If you were Chayka, how much would you offer Anthony Duclair?

Considering that he had such a horrible year last season, it baffles me as well as the many fans of the team what Duclair is holding out to receive in his next contract. With Martinook coming in at $3.6 Million for two years, what is Duclair worth? It seems likely that Chayka is playing hardball with his agent. He’s more or less telling him he has to come down on his salary demands… whatever they are.

A contract for one year is more likely to be offered to him. Coming out of their entry-level three-year contract most quality players get a respectable contract. The term applicable to Duclair’s situation is, “what have you done for me lately?” Chayka knows he has the upper hand in the negotiations and he has a boss to answer to as far as what can be spent on a player’s contract.

With all of this in mind, it seems probable that Duclair and his agent will see the light of day and come to their senses.

Is the Arizona Coyotes’ team better with a Duclair streaking down the wing passing opposing players like a desert dust devil? Of course.

Yet, professional sports is a business, and salary negotiations are brutal at times. There are NHL players making ridiculous salaries, while others are overlooked and paid on the lower scale.

Duclair needs to prove he is the player he was two years ago before his salary demands are met.

To put this in layman’s terminology, if you or I didn’t show up for work doing the best we can, are we correct in demanding a 10% increase in our salary? Hardly.

This writer’s advice for Anthony Duclair is simple.

Take $2.5 Million for two years, which is a 50% increase, and be happy you’re a professional athlete living high on the hog.

 

What do you feel is the issue with Anthony Duclair not signing yet?  Do you think he should be traded? Let us know in the comments section below.

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William Grigsby

I have been a hockey fan since I can remember. I grew up in Chicago, so I followed the Blackhawks.  When I moved to Phoenix, AZ  I became a Coyotes' fan. There's no other sport like NHL hockey!

Anthony Duclair: Why is he still unsigned?

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