Anthony Duclair has agreed to a one-year contract with the Arizona Coyotes for a reported $1.2 million. He was the last restricted free agent on the team to agree to terms.
Duclair had three different contract options
His agent, Kent Hughes said the Arizona Coyotes offered Duclair three different contract options containing various terms and value. Duclair chose the one-year term since the longer-term deals were less money.
He told Craig Morgan of NHL.com: “I just wanted to prove myself with this one-year deal. Obviously, last season was a little rough for myself. It was a good learning experience but at the same time, I just wanted to prove this year that I can play at an elite level like I did my rookie season and hopefully have a better contract next summer.”
A dismal year last season which saw Duclair collect just five goals and 15 points, may have dragged the negotiations longer than expected. Duclair was demoted to the AHL Tucson Roadrunners for 16 games to regain his game skills.
It wasn’t as if Duclair didn’t receive his share of scoring opportunities. He mentioned, “the chances are there but the puck is not going in for me right now. Confidence is a big factor and when the puck isn’t going in, confidence goes down a bit.”
Things should improve this season
With the addition of Derek Stepan to the team, Duclair will have a skilled center who is a two-way player adept at setting up plays as well as doing duty on the penalty kill unit.
Stepan possesses a 45% faceoff win ratio, which will assist puck control and increase scoring opportunities.
Domi and Duclair already have chemistry as displayed by their first season success. Domi collected 18 goals, 52 points, while Duclair tallied 20 goals, 44 points. They played on the same line with center Martin Hanzal that showed positive results.
Head coach John Chayka feels Duclair’s speed and shot are his greatest attributes he can use to get out of his funk. Chayka said, “If he can use his skating to put pressure on defenses, turn pucks over and if that leads to him spending more time in the offensive zone with talented players, they can set him up and he can put the puck in the net. It’s just a holistic approach. You’ve got to be committed to 200 feet of ice and Tocchet is going to push him to do that.”
Another factor, which could help Duclair’s game is if he learns to carry the puck through the neutral zone without being dependent on his center or winger. It may take him some adjustment to do that since his specialty is to motor up and down the wing.
A tale of two seasons
In his rookie season, Anthony Duclair managed an over the top 19% shooting percentage. Last season that dipped dramatically to 6.6%. If he can fall somewhere in between those two extremes, he will be doing fine.
A good season for Duclair would be if he could score 20 goals again. He may be able to do just that with Stepan in the middle and Domi on his wing. With a solid performance, there is no doubt he would be offered a multi-year contract with an increase next season.
Having new head coach Tocchet won’t hurt. He is an excellent communicator and should be able to restore Duclair’s decreased confidence level. Putting him on the top line should tell him that the coaching staff believes he can put out the effort and get the results they desire.
It’s up to him now to produce those results and show the team he’s worth a better contract next season. He has the ability to be a good NHL player and soon will be able to prove it.
Anthony Duclair wants nothing more than to return to his level of play two seasons ago.
To have the “Duke” back in their saddle again will supplement the Arizona Coyotes’ chances to return to the playoffs this season.
He can be an impact player this season if things go as planned.
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