Few things have become appointment reading for hockey fans the way Elliotte Friedman’s weekly 31 Thoughts feature has. The Sportsnet analyst is the best in the business and provides us with more information in a single publication that most others do all week. This week’s edition was focused on the future of Kris Letang, and whether or not the Penguins could trade him. While that was the headline, Friedman snuck in a very interesting point that might have been overlooked.
Thought 7 this week mentioned the likelihood that the Arizona Coyotes are actively shopping Anthony Duclair in order to find him a fresh start. If that’s the case, the Colorado Avalanche should be aggressively pursuing the young winger.
“7. Sounds like Arizona is working to find Anthony Duclair a fresh start. At 22, have to think someone takes a shot.”
If Duclair is in fact available, one would assume there would be more than few teams looking to acquire him.
When the Coyotes first acquired Duclair from the Rangers in a package that sent Keith Yandle to New York, it looked as though he was going to blossom into a key piece of the rebuild in Arizona.
Duclair put up 20 goals and 44 points in his rookie season and looked to have tremendous chemistry with rising star Max Domi. Unfortunately, both Duclair and the team took a huge step back last season. He finished last year with only 5 goals and spent time sulking his way through a stint with the AHL’s Tucson Roadrunners.
With a fresh start, Duclair looked to bounce back this season, and despite drastically improved play, new Coyotes head coach Rick Tocchet doesn’t seem to be a fan.
Duclair has spent a lot of time in the press box as a healthy scratch. A confusing move given that he sits fourth on the team in goals/60 and second behind only Clayton Keller in points/60.
The Avalanche are a team that could definitely use an offensive threat like Duclair. The team has scored 113 goals so far this season, of those 93 have been scored by forwards currently on the roster. The top line of Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog are responsible for 40 of those. That means that 43% of the team’s scoring has come from one line.
Another secondary option would be a welcome addition.
Duclair shoots left but can play both wing positions - something that would become valuable in a very left-shooting heavy Avs lineup. He would look pretty good on J.T. Compher’s wing.
Of course, the price has to come into consideration. Duclair is a very talented player, but Friedman makes it sound as though the price wouldn't be all that steep to acquire him give his history in Arizona.
The Avs aren’t in a position to give up futures for older players, but they’re also not at the point where they want to be waiting around for draft picks. At 22, Duclair fits in perfectly with the young core, so if you can grab him for a draft pick - maybe the extra second rounder from Nashville that came over in the Duchene trade - you jump at that chance.
Being in the same position as the Avs, maybe Arizona doesn’t want draft picks. Would you be willing to move your own youngster that’s down on the depth chart like Chris Bigras or J.C. Baudin? You’d have to strongly consider it.
Maybe Duclair isn’t available, but maybe he is. And if he is, this is the type of buy-low situation Joe Sakic has to be pursuing. He’s already worked his magic once this season, does he have more up his sleeves?
It’s only a rumor, but where there’s smoke there’s fire - especially when Elliotte Friedman is the one providing the smoke.