Rangers should take notice of Anthony Duclair’s ‘statement game’ ahead of trade deadline

NHL: San Jose Sharks at Minnesota Wild
Matt Blewett-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Matt Blewett-USA TODAY Sports

Anthony Duclair is making quite the case for a reunion with the New York Rangers ahead of the NHL trade deadline Friday.

The 28-year-old forward exploded with four points for the San Jose Sharks in their 7-6 overtime loss to the Dallas Stars on Tuesday. Duclair scored two power-play goals, each giving the Sharks a lead at the time (1-0 and 4-3), and two even-strength assists.

“To me that was Anthony Duclair letting everyone know that if you don’t think I can help you, I can help you,” hockey insider Elliotte Friedman said on Sirius/XM’s NHL Network Radio on Wednesday.

“I thought that was a big statement game from Anthony Duclair [Tuesday] night.”

Friedman had previously stated there wasn’t much interest around the League in the pending UFA and other available Sharks forwards closing in on the deadline. And that’s why he’s impressed with Duclair’s response recently.

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Rangers trade option Anthony Duclair getting hot before deadline

NHL: New York Rangers at Toronto Maple Leafs
Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Duclair is on a heater. He has five goals and eight points in his past four games, which also includes a three-point game against the Anaheim Ducks on Feb. 29.

“I don’t know how much interest there is, but I’ll say this, Duclair is aware of this perception and he had a huge game [Tuesday] night,” Friedman explained.

Being able to elevate his game brings to light some good and some bad with Duclair. The good is what the former 30-goal scorer is capable of offensively. The bad is that he has struggled on a very bad team most of this season.

But checking off another box in the positive column is Duclair’s distaste for losing, which he displayed after San Jose blew a three-goal third-period lead in its loss to Dallas.

“I’d feel more comfortable (with the Sharks) if we started winning some games,” he said.

Remember that Duclair did play some of his best hockey last spring, when he had 11 points (four goals, seven assists) helping the Florida Panthers reach the Stanley Cup Final, where they lost in five games to the Vegas Golden Knights.

So, there’s enough there to intrigue the Rangers, who seek a top-line right wing to play alongside Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider. 

There doesn’t seem to be much debate that the Rangers are heavily pursuing Ducks forward Frank Vatrano to fill that spot. But if the price is too high or a deal doesn’t work out, Duclair definitely could be an option. And a more affordable one, at that.

Forever Blueshirts lists Duclair No. 4 on its updated Rangers trade board.

Duclair was a third-round pick by the Rangers in 2013 and played 18 games with them in 2014-15 before being traded to the Arizona Coyotes in the Keith Yandle deal. He’s bounced around the League, now on his seventh team, and has 138 goals and 288 points in 546 games.

With his recent surge, Duclair has 16 goals and 27 points in 56 games. And may have caught the Blueshirts’ attention with his recent surge.

Jim Cerny is Executive Editor at Forever Blueshirts and Managing Editor at Sportsnaut, with more than 30 years of... More about Jim Cerny

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