The offseason is in full swing now. The Ottawa Senators recently announced that they have re-signed winger Anthony Duclair to a one-year, $1.65 million deal. Duclair was acquired just before the 2019 Trade Deadline as a part of the Ryan Dzingel trade with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
This is a great contract for both the Senators and Duclair as the organization heads into the second year of it’s rebuild. Duclair has had a rocky start to his career with five different teams under his belt at just 23 years old but looked ready to get it back on track at the end of the season. He played his first game with the Senators on the fourth line, jumping to the first moving forward.
The Senators get a good player at a fair price for a short term, which is perfect for the team. The best part of it is, there’s really no downfall for the player or the team in this deal.
Duclair Can Continue to Raise His Stock
In his short time with the Senators, Duclair showed the skill that was held in such high regard when he was drafted back in 2013. In 21 games with the team, he had seven goals and 14 points. That’s the highest points-per-game rate (0.67) of his entire career to go along with the second-highest average time on ice (13:41).
His point rate may taper off though. His career average is 0.43, and he was shooting at a 20 percent rate with the Senators compared to his career average of 13.1 percent. If he stays anywhere above those averages though, Duclair could be a hot commodity heading into the 2020 summer.
He’ll have every chance to do so as well. Duclair will be given top-six minutes in Ottawa, playing with young stars like Brady Tkachuk, who he played a great deal with in 2018-19. If there was ever a chance for him to excel, this is it. He can play big minutes with other skilled forward and head into free agency next offseason looking for a big pay raise.
Related: Senators Give Duclair a Fresh Start
This deal also marks his highest per-year salary to date. So while Duclair makes a bit more money than he’s used to, he’ll be working towards a bigger one for the 2020-21 season. That is something the Senators will be banking on.
Duclair has played 287 games in the NHL over five seasons, tallying 56 goals, 66 assists and 122 points.
Duclair Re-Signing a Win for Senators
The Senators re-signing Duclair is a very safe gamble. Based on what the team saw in him last year, they felt he was worth another look. Playing 21 games is a small sample size, so an extended look at the left winger will give them a good indication of their plans moving forward. There are a few possible outcomes from the deal.
If Duclair ends up having a bad season, the team could let him walk into free agency. This obviously isn’t what the team is hoping for, but it’s not like he has five more years on his deal. The Senators can look at this as a player they took a chance on, who helped them get to the salary cap floor, and kept a roster spot warm for a younger player in the system. Not a big loss for the team.
Or alternatively, Duclair can have a good season. This opens it up for the Senators a little bit. They will be sellers at the 2020 Trade Deadline, perhaps they move Duclair and continue to stockpile assets. It would be a great move if they were able to take the struggling player from the Blue Jackets and turn him into an asset other teams call about.
They could also decide that he’ll help them further and re-sign him again. He could be a solid part of the rebuild, even if just for a short time. For general manager Pierre Dorion, these are very good options to have with a contract. It could also be one of Dorion’s best trades to date if Duclair pans out.
Statistics from Hockey-Reference.com
Starting out as an Ottawa Senators contributor for The Hockey Writers, Josh is now an editor and at-large contributor, focusing on prospects, the NHL Draft, hockey history, and breaking news stories.