The Florida Panthers continued their busy offseason on Thursday by adding free agent forward Anthony Duclair on a one-year contract. Financial terms of the deal were not released by the team, but it is reportedly worth $1.7 million.
Duclair was one of the top remaining free agents still on the market, and should bring some much-needed offense to a Panthers team that lost two of its top goal-scorers (Evgenii Dadonov and Mike Hoffman) this offseason.
New Panthers general manager Bill Zito was part of the Columbus Blue Jackets organization when they acquired him two years ago, so there is somewhat of a connection here.
“Anthony is a dynamic and highly skilled player who is capable of being a dependable offensive contributor for our team” said Zito in a statement released by the Panthers. “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.”
[Related: ProHockeyTalk’s 2020 Free Agency Tracker]
Duclair is coming off a career year offensively that saw him score 23 goals and 40 total points in 66 games as a member of the Ottawa Senators a year ago. That performance earned him a trip to the 2020 NHL All-Star game. He was originally only going to be a restricted free agent this offseason, but became unrestricted when the Senators made the surprising decision to not tender him a qualifying offer.
The Panthers will be his sixth different team since making his NHL debut during the 2014-15 season. Along with the Senators and Blue Jackets, he has also played for the New York Rangers, Chicago Blackhawks, and Arizona Coyotes.
He is not going to do much to solve the Panthers’ defensive issues (though they have done a lot to try and fix that issue with their other moves), but he does bring another top-six scoring presence to their lineup. Even if he does not score at exactly the same rate he did this past season in Ottawa, he still has a track record of being a 20-goal scorer over 82 games, with the potential for more. On a one-year contract for less than $2 million, that is a pretty good find — and deal — at this point in the offseason for the Panthers.