Duclair: Message from healthy scratch received, loud and clear

Anthony Duclair, 19, had seven points in his final four games for the QMJHL Remparts after he was a healthy scratch earlier this month.

Tom Szczerbowski/Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sport

Nine days after the Coyotes acquired forward Anthony Duclair from the New York Rangers in the trade that sent Keith Yandle to New York, a red flag went up in Quebec. Duclair was a healthy scratch for the Remparts’ QMJHL game against Shawnigan.

A report in the Journal de Montreal suggested Duclair was in coach Philippe Boucher’s doghouse. Duclair said he received the message loud and clear. 

"He wanted to see a more consistent effort from me," said, Duclair, who admitted he was a bit worn out after playing 18 games with the New York Rangers out of training camp, playing for Canada’s gold-medal winning team at the World Junior Championship and then playing heavy minutes with the Remparts.

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"It was more mental fatigue but I have a responsibility to be a professional, for myself and for my teammates, and the schedule doesn’t get any easier in the NHL so there are no excuses. My coach was right. I needed to up my game."

Duclair, 19, had seven points in his final four games for the Remparts, who finished fourth in the QMJHL standings and open the playoffs on Friday against Cape Breton.

Like his World Junior Championship teammate Max Domi, Duclair has an excellent chance of making the Coyotes roster next season, with GM Don Maloney making it sound almost like a done deal when he addressed the media after an active trade deadline. 

"You don’t find this type of ability on this young a player very often," Maloney said. "This is an organization that needed to introduce that type of talent — and now. He’ll have every opportunity to make this team next season."

Duclair got a taste with the Rangers and said the time was invaluable for helping him understand the speed of the game, his defensive responsibilities and what was expected from him as a pro. 

"It will definitely help me when I get to raining camp, and it’s nice to hear Don say that, but at the same time, nothing has changed because nothing is promised," Duclair said. "I know I still have a lot of work to do. I have to prove myself so I have to keep working hard and earn it."

The thought of playing alongside Domi brings a tinge of joy to Duclair’s voice. The two clicked at the World Junior Championship, accounting for 18 combined points in seven games.

"I think it’s because of the friendship we built off the ice right away," Duclair said. "But Max is really easy to play with. He’s such a smart player and he really sets up his linemates well."    

Duclair plans to make his first-ever trip to Arizona in June and he is expecting an invitation to the team’s prospect development camp this summer.

"My summer starts June 1 so it will be two short months before it’s time to start the season again," he said. "I’m trying to gain some weight and obviously I want to make the team out of training camp so I’m hoping to come in and make a good first impression."  

ANTHONY DUCLAIR

Team: Quebec Remparts (QMJHL)

Age: 19

Height: 5-11

Weight: 185

Position: LW

Shoots: Left

Drafted: Rangers’ 2013 third-round pick (80th overall)

2014-15 stats: With New York Rangers: 18 games, 1 goal, seven points; With Remparts 26 games 15 goals, 34 points

Timeline: GM Don Maloney has said Duclair will have an excellent chance of making the roster next season.

Quote: "Playing with the Rangers really benefitted me, and my defensive game has really, really improved. I’m trying to work more on that because I know how important being an all-around player is." — Anthony Duclair

Did You Know? Duclair and Coyotes prospect Max Domi were linemates for Canada, which won gold at the 2015 World Junior Championship. … Duclair was born in Montreal but is of Haitian descent. … Duclair and Coyotes goalie Louis Domingue were teammates for Quebec, with Patrick Roy as coach.

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