It had almost seemed like a matter of time - but after two-and-a-half tumultuous seasons with the Arizona Coyotes, Anthony Duclair is headed out of the desert.
The Coyotes shipped Duclair, who came as a huge part of the Keith Yandle trade in 2015, off to the Chicago Blackhawks with defenseman Adam Clendening, who will re-join the club that drafted him 36th overall in 2011.
Heading back to Arizona is fellow winger Richard Panik, and former Coyotes prospect Laurent Dauphin.
Duclair has been a sore subject around the league this year. On one hand, he’s been incredibly productive in the games he has played for Arizona, firing off nine goals and 15 points in 33 appearances for the desert club.
On the other hand, though, he hasn’t missed any time for injury; all those missing dates from the lineup came in the form of a healthy scratch, which raised a major red flag. He also spent a chunk of his 2016-17 season down in the AHL with the Tucson Roadrunners when he couldn’t seem to buy a goal on the NHL roster. It had seemed as if his year was just snake-bitten, but now his low return begs the question of what else might have been plaguing his relationship with the team.
Panik, who heads back to Arizona, truly has been snake-bitten this year. After signing a multi-year deal to continue sitting pretty in the top six for Chicago with Jonathan Toews, he’s been one of the team’s least productive forwards; despite getting plenty of ice time, he has just six goals and 16 points in 37 games so far this year.
The hope for both teams is that the trade will spark the players involved, whether on the ice or off it. For now, though, the trade definitely tips in Chicago’s favor - as the younger player in the deal, Duclair is the more valuable asset.
Quenneville on Duclair: He's a young kid. He's got some upside. Coming here he's got to be excited about the chance to prove himself to be a regular, and there's opportunity to move up in the lineup as he goes along here."— Scott Powers (@ByScottPowers) January 11, 2018
Now, let’s talk about Vegas!
When the NHL announced that they were adding a 31st franchise in Sin City, it didn’t take long for the name drama to really start up.
First, the OHL’s London Knights made it clear that they would pursue legal action if the NHL took on the Knights as their name, and then the NHL never quite got full legal approval for the Golden Knights name they eventually went with.
Now, it appears that Army is looking to get something going in court over the whole situation, which is really everything I’ve ever needed in a lavish, extravagant expansion drama saga. Read more here. [SportsLogos]
Now, time to talk about Colorado:
ICYMI, Mile High Hockey has been filling your boring (in Coloradoland, at least) week with fun round-table questions, and both parts have now officially been published.
Oh, and congrats to Nathan MacKinnon! Headed back to the only game NHLers actively fake injuries to get out of. What fun!
It’s also worth briefly mentioning that Cale Makar apparently turned down an invite from Team Canada for the Olympics. [MHH]
I will say this: college is a blast, but I can certainly understand why someone might pass up representing their country in the midst of their freshman year as a student-athlete - especially when they just missed a nice chunk of time due to the World Junior Championships.
If he could go back and choose between the WJC and the Olympics, would Makar maybe go to the other one? Possibly. Probably. Would he have been invited if he hadn’t made the WJC team? Not likely, so it’s a moot point.
Just worth a reminder; Makar may be finished with his student-athlete career after this season, but there’s no reason for him to be finished with college. Even if he doesn’t stay on for another few years (which he very well may), tanking his freshman year classes for the Olympics may not be what he wants to do. It’s a chance - and plenty would take it, but no reason to begrudge a kid who chooses not to.
Finally, I’ll end with this montage of Brad Marchand, since he proved today that even rodents can head to the All Star Game if they really believe in themselves.