Last month, Arizona sent slumping sophomore Anthony Duclair to its AHL affiliate in Tucson, so he could “regain his scoring touch” and “rejoin the team soon.”
That was 25 days ago.
Since then, Duclair’s scored just one goal in nine games for the Roadrunners, and seen his name surface in trade talks. With no recall in sight, the 21-year-old acknowledged he’s spoken with GM John Chayka and head coach Dave Tippett about his future with the organization.
“It’s obviously there,” Duclair said, per the Arizona Republic. “It’s tough to get away from that but at the same time, I’m not too worried about it. I talked with Tip and (General Manager) John (Chayka) about that, about trade speculation and stuff like that.
“We’ll talk contract this summer. I’m not too worried about that. It’s just a matter of keep working hard and get back up here as soon as possible.”
After scoring 20 goals and 44 points in 81 games last year, big things were expected from Duclair this season. But he struggled mightily not just to score, but also produce scoring chances — and after just three goals and nine points in 41 games, he was sent packing.
Tippett minced few words in describing Duclair’s season. He said the 21-year-old has underwhelmed and failed to live up to expectations, adding that Duclair “can’t just hope to score — he needs to put the work in.”
A pending RFA, one has to wonder if Duclair will be in play at the deadline. Chayka has several assets in play — UFAs Martin Hanzal and Radim Vrbata chief among them — and there’s always the potential of flipping captain Shane Doan to a contender.
That could push the Duclair situation to the backburner, allowing the organization to circle back this summer when it comes time to qualifying him or not.