Vigneault’s Comments Suggests Duclair Has A Real Shot To Make The Team

Anthony Duclair (center) is all smiles after scoring the eventual game winner last night (MSG)

Anthony Duclair (center) is all smiles after scoring the eventual game winner last night (MSG)

I must admit, it’s really hard not to get overly excited about this kid. Anthony Duclair has the 3 “S”‘s that in hockey make me jump out of my seat.

Size, Speed, Skill.

Anthony Duclair #63 was impressive. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Anthony Duclair #63 was impressive. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Last night, in his first pro hockey game, he was outstanding. He finished with a goal and an assist, but that was just what made the score sheet. “He played with Brass and Nash tonight and they went head to head against one of their top two lines, either Toews or Richie’s line,” Alain Vigneault said in his post game presser. However, just like any head coach, he coupled praise with some criticism, “I thought for the most part, except a turnover in the third period where he ended up in the box, the young man played a real strong game.” AV concluded, “You know, it’s a first step for him.”

 

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John Giannone of MSG Network caught up with Duclair to discuss his thoughts going forward. “For sure, I want to stay here as long as possible,” Duclair explained. “I want to come here ready to work and give it my all.”

The question is, can the kid make it out of camp? Michael Del Zotto was the last prospect to make the team out of the preseason at the age of 19 in 2009, while JT Miller was the last Blueshirt to debut at that same age in the 2012-2013 season. Will 19 year old, Anthony Duclair be next?

If we learned one thing about AV and his hockey style it’s this – he likes speed. “He’s definitely got wheels – and he made a couple of pretty nice moves there,” the head coach pointed out last night.

To keep expectations in check for everyone, it was still an exhibition game. AV said that much afterwards, “Today was our second of six games and we have four more games to play and a lot of the guys that were in the lineup are going to get another chance to play and their job is to make our decisions real hard.”

Is one of the players, Duclair? It has to be and the head coach admitted he’s making an impression. Will it be enough to make the team out of camp? History and logic say the odds are stacked against him, but Duclair is showing a very special skill set and a mental approach to the game that very few his age have shown.

For now, Anthony Duclair has 4 exhibition games left to make Vigneault’s hard decision – impossible.

Here’s John Giannone’s interviews from Blueshirts United (first AV, then Duclair).