The Florida Panthers have agreed to terms with former Ottawa Senators forward Anthony Duclair on a one-year contract worth $1.7 million. The move leaves the Cats with a projected $6,613, 712 of cap space according to CapFriendly.
General manager Bill Zito had this to say of the singing:
“Anthony is a dynamic and highly skilled player who is capable of being a dependable offensive contributor for our team. He possesses tremendous speed and goal scoring ability and earned an opportunity to be named an NHL All-Star last season. We’re excited to welcome Anthony and look forward to what he can add to our team.”
Duclair, 25, appeared in 66 games with Ottawa in 2019-20, producing 23 goals and 40 points. The 5-foot-11, 198-pound native of Pointe-Claire, QC, posted career-highs in goals (23), shorthanded goals (2) and shots on goal (184) and played in the 2020 National Hockey League All-Star Game. Duclair ranked second on the Senators in goals (23), third in even-strength goals (16) and tied for first in power-play goals (5).
The well-traveled forward, who played junior for the QMJHL’s Quebec Remparts, has played in a total of 353 career NHL regular season games for Ottawa (2018-19 to 2019-20), the Columbus Blue Jackets (2018-19), Chicago Blackhawks (2017-18), Arizona Coyotes (2015-16 to 2017-18) and New York Rangers (2014-15), amassing 162 points (79G/83A).
Duclair will be counted on to replace the goals supplied by the likes of the departed Evgenii Dadonov and Mike Hoffman, who is not expected to return. While he did establish a new career-high in goals last season, there is some cause for concern here. Duclair did most of his damage before the calendar turned to 2020. An 11-goal month of December allowed him to break his old personal-best mark of 20, set in 2015-16 with the Coyotes, on December 21 in a 5-4 shootout loss to Philadelphia. Over his final 30 games played, he only scored twice. That stretch included an ice-cold, 22-game drought.
That said, this is another low-risk, high-reward type of signing by Zito. Duclair should find himself playing with some pretty talented players in Florida’s top-six and should get plenty of power play time. Duclair will be an restricted free agent with arbitration rights at the end of the season, so the Panthers will have dibs on re-signing him if he has a successful campaign.
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