With the Arizona Coyotes season becoming a tire fire, they have sent struggling forward Anthony Duclair down to the Tucson Roadrunners. Duclair has registered only nine points (3g, 6a) in 41 games with the big club and with the team as a whole looking ahead to the Draft, probably the best to go ahead and not kill the confidence of a guy they want to be a part of their core in the future.
However, Mike Johnson of the NHL Network brought up a great point during NHL Tonight saying that while Duclair may be hating the decision and wondering about his own worth with this move, it could be a savior for his young career.
The Tucson Roadrunners are at the top of the Pacific Division and the only team in the division with 20 wins, though they could use a little more defensive help. The point of it is that the talent of Duclair could be something that is a shot in the arm for both parties. With only rookies Christian Fischer and Brendan Perlini (currently up in the NHL) in double-digits for goals on the team, the goal-scoring touch of Duclair would be greatly welcomed, which is assuming that he can find his 50-goal scoring touch he had with the Quebec Remparts of the QMJHL.
Never having any AHL experience with the Coyotes or when he first got into the Rangers organization, Duclair missed a bit of a step in the development of his career. Despite having a 20-goal season in his rookie year, you can’t think that will be the norm for a player in his second season of play when people have more video of his tendencies.
As mentioned before, Johnson said that Duclair is probably wondering if he can’t make it on a team like the Coyotes– where can he make it? The key for Duclair is attitude. The Roadrunners are a solid team and have the luxury of fewer games and more practice. While I’ve been adamantly opposed to the western teams having fewer games, but in this case– it could work out for Duclair in the long-run. He’ll be able to learn the system the Coyotes will want him to be in, he’ll be able to have Mark Lamb— who coached the WHL’s Swift Current Broncos while having the likes of Cody Eakin, Adam Lowry, and Jake DeBrusk on his roster– mentor him and help bridge that gap from the junior style of play he could get away with as a rookie and move onto the professional style the Coyotes would want him to play in.
Don’t discount playing on a winning team. The Roadrunners are on good footing and will be the right spot for a player who needs their confidence. If Duclair can get his scoring touch back and help win some games with the Roadrunners, it’ll could do wonders for his career down the road so long as he allows himself to have some humility and take this not as a demotion, but as a learning experience.