Islanders Missed Opportunity With Anthony Duclair
By Matt O'Leary
Anthony Duclair signed with the Florida Panthers on the cheap. Did the Islanders miss an opportunity here with Duclair?
It’s been relatively quiet for the Islanders in free agency. They retained Ryan Pulock, and they will likely bring back Andy Greene, Matt Martin, and add Cory Schneider as well. But did they miss an opportunity to add a goal scorer on the cheap?
Today, the Florida Panthers signed Anthony Duclair to a one-year $1.7 million contract. While Duclair is by no stretch of the imagination a dominant player, he would’ve been a welcomed presence to the Islanders’ middle six.
If Lou Lamoriello could’ve gotten him to sign for that same price tag, I would’ve been all over It. The past two years, Duclair has provided depth scoring on the cheap.
In 2018-2019, Duclair had 19 goals in 74 games between Columbus and Ottawa. In a shortened 2019-2020 season, he had 23 goals and a 40 point season. So over his last 140 games, he has 43 goals to his name.
Of course, I’m not claiming he’s Mike Hoffman or anything like that but the Islanders shouldn’t necessarily be shying away from someone under $2 million who can give you 20 goals, and yes, the Islanders could afford it.
If you move Andrew Ladd to LTIR, bury Thomas Hickey, sign Matt Martin for $800,000, Cory Schneider for $800,000, Andy Greene for $1.25 million, and Mathew Barzal for $7 million over a three-year bridge deal that would still leave you with $4.2 million in cap space.
The Islanders could’ve rolled something like:
Lee – Barzal – Eberle
Beauvillier – Nelson – Bailey
Duclair – Pageau – Wahlstrom
Martin – Cizikas – Clutterbuck
Now that’s a lineup that looks to have a lot more depth. As it stands now, that third line spot occupied by Duclair in this fantasy would likely go to Michael Dal Colle or Leo Komarov. Neither of those two guys can give you what Duclair does.
This is the kind of cheap, short-term, “win now” move that would be perfect for the Islanders. I’m disappointed that they couldn’t pull something like this off.
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I’m bracing myself for a Dal Colle – Pageau – Komarov third line, but maybe Lou Lamoriello has another trick up his sleeve. With the season roughly a month out, I think we’ll begin to see more dominos fall.