Although he was not tendered a qualifying offer by the Blackhawks on Monday, 22-year-old winger Anthony Duclair is still an intriguing talent.
According to information received by Pittsburgh Hockey Now, Duclair could soon be a Penguin.
A person with knowledge of the team’s thought process said Monday evening that Penguins management contacted Duclair after Chicago elected not to retain the restricted free agent. Duclair will be available for all teams to sign on Sunday, July 1, when free agency opens across the NHL.
To boil it down, PHN is told the Penguins would like to sign Duclair if his going price is somewhere in the vicinity of the $1.2 million he got last summer on a one-year contract with the Coyotes.
That tidbit coincides with an ambiguous comment Duclair (or someone with access to Duclair’s account) left on Daniel Sprong‘s Instagram post following the announcement of his two-year deal with the Penguins. Duclair is training with Sprong this offseason, so the two are already acquainted.
(UPDATE: Evidently Duclair’s reply is in reference to another comment from ‘acortzy’ about “Leaving (his) wallet at home for the rest of the summer. Take it or leave it, I suppose.)
Originally a third-round draft pick of the Rangers in 2013, the 5-foot-11, 190-pound Duclair has 89 points (37 goals) in 213 NHL games with New York, Arizona and Chicago. This January, he was traded from the Coyotes along with former Penguins defenseman Adam Clendening to the ‘Hawks for Richard Panik and Laurent Dauphin.
With Chicago, Duclair played in 23 games, recording three goals and five assists. He has been a positive possession player in relation to his team in each of four NHL seasons, boasting a plus-2.8 percent Corsi Relative. His speed and hands would seem to fit with a Penguins team that plays aggressively, especially with left wing looking a little thin on the depth chart.
With help from Bill Comeau‘s fantastic SKATR comparison tool, trained on the past two seasons, Duclair would be a nice upgrade from Tom Kühnhackl, who wasn’t given a qualifying offer by the Penguins on Monday.
Keep it here on PHN as we get you ready for the start of free agency, with Dan Kingerski and Shelly Anderson alongside.