Bouncing from team to team during his short career, forward Anthony Duclair could not find a true home. He would have hot streaks with certain franchises and then proceed to struggle. In some cases, he just couldn’t bond with some members of his coaching staff. After years of searching, it seems like he’s finally found his footing in South Florida as he’s on the hottest start of his career after signing a new contract worth $3 million a year this past offseason.
The Duke of Goal Scoring
After a slow start last season, the “Duke” is now in a great position with Florida. He is currently tied for the team lead in goals scored with nine goals through 18 games. Additionally, through those games, he’s third on the team in points with 16 (seven assists). With that, he’s averaging nearly a point per game. Furthermore, he has the second-highest rating on the team with a 14 rating.
Compared to his performance last season, he only had 10 goals and 32 total points through 43 regular-season games. His current campaign is a drastic improvement from his first year with the Cats.
Along with being on the top line with captain Aleksander Barkov and forward Carter Verhaeghe, Duclair is arguably one of the fastest skaters in the game as his speed alone makes it difficult for a defenseman to stay on top of him. In addition, his strong start to the season has helped push the team to a 10-2-2 start this season.
Duclair’s Teammates and Coaches Love Having Him Around
In addition to his linemates on the top line, his head coach in Andrew Brunette appreciates the effort he brings on the ice.
“He’s been a threat all season,” Brunette said. “When he’s using his speed and he’s on the puck, and he’s harder on pucks, he gets his opportunities.”Andrew Brunette on Anthony Duclair after a Florida Panthers victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Nov. 6, 2021.
His coaching staff has been much more helpful and willing to use his strengths, unlike the staff he had during his time as a Columbus Blue Jacket. For example, John Tortorella, who was the Blue Jacket’s coach at the time, had unfavorable comments about his play as he claimed he did not “know how to play.” As a result, his relationship in Columbus was shot and it ultimately led him to being traded to the Ottawa Senators in 2019. Today, those are a thing of the past. Additionally, his teammates have nothing but praise for him when it comes to his incredible talents.
“He’s such a fast and skilled skater and he can do those type of plays and we’re trying to get the puck to him as much as possible, and he can make those things happen.”Aleksander Barkov on his goal against the Boston Bruins on Oct. 27, 2021
His teammates and coaching staff in South Florida have accepted him as one of their own. As a result, he is flourishing with his new set of brothers.
What Does the Future Hold for Dulcair?
With Duclair finally breaking out with the Panthers, the future must continue to be successful for him and his team if they want to sniff the playoffs. He did get some playoff action for the first time in his career last season but failed to register a point in six meetings with the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round. However, with his team playing extremely well as of late, he will more than likely get a second crack at it.
The team’s success is in large part due to the success of Duclair. As previously mentioned, his speed is one of the best in the NHL and it has created multiple scoring chances each and every night. With the level he has played and the success he has found, he has truly found somewhere he can call home in Sunrise, Florida. More than likely, he’s gonna hope to stick around for a little longer than just three years.
My name is Joey. I’ve been writing about the NHL for about 3 years with my experience spread out between TSJ 101 Sports and Panther Parkway. I look forward to you reading my articles!