Chicago Blackhawks forward Anthony Duclair says he requested a trade from the Arizona Coyotes because he “deserved a little better” in terms of his handling as a player. Speaking with reporters including the Chicago Sun-Times’ Mark Lazerus after his first practice with the team, he said it wasn’t a decision made hastily.
“A combination, a bit of everything, I think. In that situation, I was a healthy scratch at times. I didn’t have the leash that others had. Not going to say it was unfair to me, but at the same time, just talking to older guys on the team, as well, they felt like I deserved a little better, and I thought so, too. It wasn’t a decision I made overnight.”
Duclair’s trade came after reports that the Coyotes were looking to find him “a fresh start” to turn his career around. The Blackhawks gave up Richard Panik and Laurent Dauphin to acquire the talented forward, who will be skating on the third line for the team’s game against the Winnipeg Jets on Friday night.
It’s fair to say that Joel Quenneville’s handling of this situation will be important. Duclair won’t be slotted into a huge role from Day 1 with the Blackhawks, and it’ll be interesting to see how everyone reacts if he’s pushed down in the lineup or healthy scratched at some point. We certainly can’t put that past Quenneville given his propensity for line changes.
But all indications are that Duclair will get a very good opportunity to prove himself in Chicago, and there’s a chance he could elevate himself in the lineup with strong play. A spot on the left wing next to Patrick Kane has to be circled in Duclair’s head as the kind of ideal landing place for his offensive gifts.
To his credit, he sounds excited about that.
Anthony Duclair believes change of scenery will be "huge" for him: "Especially just the way they play and watching them play over the years, they play with a lot of speed and skill, and I think that fits in to my strengths." #Blackhawks— Charlie Roumeliotis (@CRoumeliotis) January 12, 2018
He also said he was “embracing the opportunity” now that he’s out of Arizona and with a new franchise.
We’ll have to wait and see whether this is one of those change-of-scenery trades that pans out, but optimism is plentiful right now. Duclair’s first chance to prove himself with the Hawks comes Friday evening against Winnipeg.