Anthony Duclair offers the NY Islanders a chance at top line stability

New York Islanders v Tampa Bay Lightning
New York Islanders v Tampa Bay Lightning / Mike Ehrmann/GettyImages

The New York Islanders needed Anthony Duclair, and Anthony Duclair needed stability.

In 10 NHL seasons, Duclair has skated for eight different organizations. He has been traded five times despite being a productive, offensive forward. Stability was important, if not necessary to him, and he found that with a familiar face behind the bench in Patrick Roy, his former junior coach.

On Monday, he signed a 4-year, 14M (3.5M AAV) contract with the Islanders and while the organization may offer him stability, Duclair is offering them a chance of stability on their top line.

He also saw an opportunity where he could bolster and amplify the Islanders forward group. The team had three 30-goal scorers last season (Brock Nelson, Bo Horvat, and Kyle Palmieri), and Mathew Barzal scored a career-high 23 goals. Even with that production, the Isles finished 22nd in goals scored. They needed more.

Duclar, who has a 27-goal 82-game average since the 2019-20 season, provides a chance of certainty on the Islanders' top line. Last year, everyone from Simon Holmstrom and Anders Lee to Casey Cizikas and Nelson skated with Barzal and Horvat. Each had varying degrees of success, but nothing stuck. A line of Barzal-Horvat-Duclair can stick.

When Duclair was acquired by the Tampa Bay Lightning from the San Jose Sharks at the trade deadline, he wasn't viewed as a depth piece. He was slotted in with Hart-Trophy candidate Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point. The results speak for themselves. Surrounded by that talent, Duclair scored eight goals and seven assists in 17 games, a 70+ point pace. That number may be too high, but a 50+ season is well within reach if Duclair can complement Barzal and Horvat.

It's an exciting signing for the Islanders. A former All-Star with 25+ goal prowess still in his prime, being paired up with the team's top playmaker and one of their best scorers. There was strong mutual interest between both parties that made this deal happen. Now, it's up to the team and the party to show why it was mutually beneficial.