Rangers coming up on decision time with Duclair

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The Edmonton Oilers announced today that Leon Draisaitl has been reassigned to the Western Hockey League. Is Anthony Duclair on the brink of experiencing a similar fate?

There are clear differences between Draisaitl’s situation and Duclair’s. For one thing the New York Rangers forward has a bit more seasoning as he was drafted in 2013 and spent the 2013-14 campaign in the juniors. At the same time, he’s gotten far less playing time than Draisaitl during his NHL stint, in part because of how much more difficult it is to crack the New York Rangers’ lineup.

Another difference is that while Edmonton decided against loaning Draisaitl to Germany for the 2015 World Juniors, the Rangers are letting Duclair play with Team Canada. That’s bought them time to weigh their options while Duclair plays against the best players in his age group.

It’s also given them another opportunity to evaluate him.

“Duke is playing today and maybe tomorrow and we’ll decide what we’re going to do,” Rangers coach Alain Vigneault told the Bergen Record. “Yes, we have cap space. I know Jeff (Gorton) is on his way to Toronto to see those games and we’re hooking up with Glen (Sather) in the next day and we’ll make that decision.

“There’s a lot of components that go into making that decision. One major component that we have to consider is that if we send him down, we can’t call him up (until the end of the QMJHL season) and that team is Memorial Cup bound so you’re looking at mid-May (until Quebec’s season is over).”

Canada will play against Slovakia in the semifinals tonight and then either participate in the Bronze Medal Game or go for the gold on Monday.