#8 - Anthony Duclair - Winger
Rank Last Year: Turned 21 before the series, therefore was ineligible.
Has He Played in the NHL Yet? - 157 games, first with the New York Rangers back in 2014-15, before playing 81 with the Coyotes in 2015-16.
About Anthony Duclair:
Sophomore slump might be selling Anthony Duclair's season short. The young forward had himself a Murphy's law of a season; everything that could have gone wrong for Duclair did indeed go wrong. The player fans know as the “Duke” was more of a court jester in the 2016-17 season.
After his stellar 2015-16 Coyotes debut, where he potted 20 goals in 81 games, he only scored three before being sent down to Tucson. The demotion didn't revitalize him; he went 1-7-8 in 16 games before being called back up post-trade-deadline.
We've discussed Duclair's disappointing campaign ad nauseum, and it's really tough to get to the root of his struggles. With his linemates and possession numbers staying similar, there's no huge red flag as to what Duclair did differently.
So was he unlucky? Or was there an actual decline? As we anticipate what he might do next season, the answer likely lies somewhere in between. Even then, he's a young player. Young players are meant to have growing pains, they're almost expected to have them.
A woeful season doesn't change that, in a vacuum, Duclair is an exciting player with speed to strain defenses and the ability to change games with a flick of the wrist.
And it's not like the Coyotes have Stanley Cup contending depth. We see the talent throughout the roster, but it's nowhere near the upper echelon teams. The Coyotes need Duclair to be good, and they have a situation where they can give him the wiggle room to play through his struggles. And, ultimately, adjust to them.
The latter will determine whether or not he'll be here when the going actually gets tough.
So what's next for Anthony Duclair?
First, the Coyotes need to re-sign him. Given Duclair's disastrous season, it makes perfect sense that the Coyotes aren't rushing to lock him up long term. That's no knock on the player, it's just the reality of the situation. For both sides, Duclair needs to show he's the player from his first season in a Coyotes sweater, not this last one.
For better or worse, Duclair is all but penciled into a top six role with this team. And with the Coyotes signaling they want to be competitive soon, Duclair will have every chance to prove he deserves to be a part of this bright future.