Arizona Coyotes: Something Must Give For Anthony Duclair

Arizona Coyotes

Nov 17, 2016; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Arizona Coyotes forward Anthony Duclair (10) warms up against the Vancouver Canucks during the first period at Rogers Arena. The Vancouver Canucks won in overtime 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

To say that Arizona Coyotes forward Anthony Duclair has experienced a sophomore slump would probably be an understatement. What will it take to get him going again?

The Arizona Coyotes have a decision to make.

With two goal and four assists through 31 games, it’s fair to say that Anthony Duclair probably wouldn’t mind a do-over.

Unfortunately, however, there is no reset button in the NHL.

A combination of bad luck, inconsistent play, and low ice time have brought the Duke to this point. Now the challenge is up to get him out of the slump.

And get him out the Coyotes must if they want him to be a key piece of the team’s future.

Apart from trading him (if all else fails) the Coyotes have two options to bring him back up to speed.

Nov 16, 2016; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Arizona Coyotes right wing Radim Vrbata (17) shoot the puck against the Calgary Flames during the second period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

More Quality Playing Time:

Believe it or not, 35-year-old Radim Vrbata is leading the way this year in scoring.

While he and Duclair are both right wings, maybe Duke could be tried at left wing to see if he and Vrby have any chemistry. Throw in Martin Hanzal at center to win face-offs and this could be a very solid possession line.

This would also correlate to an increase in overall ice time.

Currently, Duclair averages 13:22 TOI per game, less than everyone other than Lawson Crouse and Ryan White.

That ice time slots him in as a fourth line right wing behind Rieder, McGinn, and Doan.

That doesn’t sound like the kind of recipe that will break him out of the slump.

Tuesday night Duke was given nearly twenty minutes of ice time and scored his first goal in 22 games. He even put up five shots.

That’s the kind of usage one of the team’s most skilled players needs to see.

Oh, and maybe give him some time with Max Domi when he returns from injury. I’ve heard they make a pretty good team.

Arizona Coyotes

Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Send Him To Tucson

If for some reason the Arizona Coyotes can’t or won’t give Duclair more ice time, maybe he needs to ride the bus for a while.

The Tucson Roadrunners are playing strong hockey, currently boasting a 14-6-3 record.

Adding Ducair’s talent to the mix would be fun to watch, and might be just the confidence boost he needs.

Getting sent to the AHL could be seen as a demotion, but it shouldn’t.

Plenty of current NHL stars spent some time developing in the AHL, a place Duclair has never even played. Among those players are Cam Atkinson, Nikita Kucherov, and Corey Perry (three of the top 10 scoring forwards in the league right now).

It would be a perfect opportunity for Duclair to play a lot of quality minutes and establish himself as a leader and difference maker for a team, much like his days playing junior hockey.

With the Coyotes’ season heading south anyway, there’s nothing to lose in trying this out.

It’s certainly better than sitting in the press box, something Duclair has done three times already this year.

What do you think should be done with about Duclair? Trade him, play him, or demote him?

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