With the 80th overall pick in the draft, and third of their three third round picks, the Rangers selected Quebec Remparts forward Anthony Duclair. The 18 year old native of Pointe-Claire, Quebec has above average skating and offensive capabilities, but questions remain as to whether he can round out his game.
At 5-11 and 177lbs, Duclair doesn’t have size, nor does he have the strenght, even if he might have the inclination. A player who likes to play in the offensive end, but has not yet figured out that you need to be defensively responsible too if you want to play at the higher levels.
With that said, Duclair’s offensive abilities and skating are tougher to teach, and a change in coach – Patrick Roy is moving onto the Colorado Avalanche – might make a positive impression on the youngster.
Duclair burst onto the scene as a 16 year old, scoring at more than a point a game – 31 goals and 35 assists in 63 appearances – finishing fourth amongst rookies in the QMJHL, and was good enough to get a spot on the Quebec League Team that played the Russian prospects.
Projected to be a first round pick at the end of his rookie season, Duclair saw his stocks drop throughout the year. A sprained ankle early in this past season, perhaps didn’t allow him to get off to the best of starts, and that was followed up by a bit of an offensive swoon in January, and a suspension from coach Roy for indifferent play – though he was reinstated without missing a game.
Even still, Duclair finished with 50 points in 53 games and a solid +23 in plus minus. He still projected by many to be a second round pick, including former NHL GM – Craig Button who had him ranked at 43 for TSN.
Observers continue to rave about his skating and offensive abilities, and the player himself acknowledges that he has to work on his defensive skills, even if he’s yet to put that into action.