SUMMERLIN, Nev. — Whatever the reasoning for the perception, Anthony Duclair was trying to change the narrative about himself as a hockey player and a person.
He had reportedly requested his way out of Phoenix. John Tortorella publicly scorched him, saying he had “bad listening skills,” and “I don’t think he knows how to play,” just before he was sent packing from Columbus. He’s just 27, yet he’s already on his sixth team since being drafted 80th overall by the Rangers 10 years ago due to criticisms of inconsistency, defensive issues and attitude problems.
Duclair felt he got a bad rap.
That’s why the Florida Panthers speedster says he fired his agent three years ago and bet on himself by representing himself heading into contract negotiations with the Ottawa Senators. Duclair had just scored 23 goals in 66 games and made the All-Star Game before COVID-19 halted the 2019-20 season. Reportedly, however, he turned down a mid-term extension in the $4 million range and wound up an unrestricted free agent because the Sens decided not to tender him a qualifying offer perhaps out of fear of a possible lucrative arbitration award.
As for becoming his own agent, Duclair says, “It’s been awesome, and I’d do it again. Just one of those things where I felt like it was the right thing to do. I always thought about it, to be honest, even early in my career, that this was something I wanted to do.
“And then when COVID happened, it’s just one of those things where I didn’t really like where my career was going. I didn’t like where my career had gone so far. I just felt like I had a lot more to prove. And I just felt like there was just a nasty rap about myself and I just wanted to clear things up and just have a chance to talk to people, talk to GMs and just get their feeling for me as a player and as a person rather than to talk to a third person.”
Duclair says Panthers GM Bill Zito was the first GM to call.
They had a relationship from when Zito was an assistant GM in Columbus, so Duclair trusted him and ultimately signed a one-year, $1.7 million contract.
As fast as Duclair is, as offensively gifted as he is, it’s a little peculiar that the deal was his fourth consecutive one-year contract signed with a fourth consecutive GM on a fourth consecutive team.
In 2017-18, he signed a one-year, $1.2 million deal with the Coyotes’ John Chayka. In 2018-19, he signed a one-year, $650,000 deal with the Blue Jackets’ Jarmo Kekalainen. In 2019-20, he signed a one-year, $1.65 million deal with the Senators’ Pierre Dorion.
“I just feel like it was way better for me to contact teams myself and let them know my position and let them know who I am as a person rather than just that guarantee from a third party,” Duclair said. “It was a great experience to tell my story and get a feel for the market. A lot of GMs actually respected it, which was nice. I did my research, did my homework, tried to make sure that when I…
Read More: Anthony Duclair bet on himself. Now the Panthers are betting on him in the 2023-06-05 03:46:54