We’ve reached the top 15 of The Cannon’s Top 25 Under 25 Countdown, ranking young Columbus Blue Jackets by more than 120 reader votes. Throughout the month of August, we’ll reveal a new player each weekday based on your ranking.
#15 Anthony Duclair
15th out of 55 eligible players (1113 points)
Highest placement: #8 (3 ballots)
Most common placement: #14 (13 ballots)
Birthdate: August 25, 1995
Birthplace: Laval, Quebec, Canada
Weight: 192 lbs
Acquired: Signed by Columbus as a free agent on July 5
Anthony Duclair began the season in Arizona, playing 33 games for the Coyotes (scoring nine goals and six assists) before being shipped to Chicago in January. Duclair played 23 games for the Blackhawks and posted two goals and six assists, but not impressing the front office staff enough to tender a qualifying offer to the 22-year-old. Thus, the Blue Jackets scooped him up to a one-year deal for the NHL veteran minimum of $650,000 in the first week of free agency.
Duclair tallied career-best Corsi (53.9 CF%) and Fenwick (50.8 FF%) numbers in an extremely small sample size playing on the third line in Chicago, but ended the season without scoring in his final 14 games. He was healthy scratched in both Arizona and Chicago and suffered a leg injury in a March 10 collision with Brad Marchand that ended his season at 56 games played.
He’s been traded twice and Columbus will be his fourth stop in an NHL career that began in 2014. This may be Duclair’s last chance to hang on in the NHL, but there’s a good deal of positivity from both camps going forward. Duclair reportedly passed up more money elsewhere to come to Columbus and play for John Tortorella, thanks in part to Vinny Lecavalier testifying on Torts’ behalf (Vinny’s brother is Duclair’s agent).
Duclair’s a good, speedy forward and should have ample opportunity in Columbus. He’s a long way from his 20-goal rookie season, but the CBJ are counting on Duclair and Riley Nash to provide bottom-six offense and he’s shown the ability to score at a second-line clip:
Anthony Duclair (not qualified by Chicago, is now UFA) is a real good young forward. pic.twitter.com/99F1R9WW47— Micah Blake McCurdy (@IneffectiveMath) June 25, 2018
He turns 23 in a few weeks and will be one to watch in preseason camp. Duclair is on a “show-me” deal could be a key cog for the organization in 2018-19 and beyond.