After trading away Matt Duchene, Ryan Dzingel and Mark Stone away this past trade deadline, I believed, just like many other Ottawa Senators fans, that the Ottawa Senators has lost all of their goal scorers. I even joked saying that I wouldn’t be surprised if the Sens didn’t score a goal for the remainder of the season. It’s safe to say that I have been pleasantly surprised.
The trade that sent Matt Duchene to the Columbus Blue Jackets involved Anthony Duclair finding his fifth NHL team in his young career.
At first I was skeptical, hearing that he was “impossible to coach” or a tyrant in the locker room. Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella did not like him and did not give him enough chances in Columbus to prove his worth and I believed that acquiring Duclair was a mistake.
But, I was wrong. Duclair has bounced back tremendously and has easily been one of Ottawa’s best players. While making the league minimum at 650k for the remainder of this season, Duclair is showing that he’s worth a lot more as he’s been scoring a ton in Ottawa. He’s also been a very complete player. The young 23 year old has complemented the rebuilding Senators roster greatly and has proven his worth as a former first rounder draft pick.
It is not clear however if GM Pierre Dorion will decide to keep the winger past this season, as his contract expires. I believe moving on from Duclair will be a mistake, but at the same time he should not be given a massive contract… yet. The Ottawa Senators has easily been the best thing to happen to Duclair, but it could all be an illusion, and paying big bucks to keep him in the red and gold could be a mistake. I believe that he should receive a bridge deal for 2-3 years to see if he can continue to succeed in the rebuild. This would easily be the best move for Ottawa under Pierre Dorion’s reign should Duclair grow to become an elite top 6 winger in the NHL at a consistent level.
Another pleasant surprise is Brady Tkachuk.
Entering the year, all Ottawa Senators fans knew that the first rounder was something special, but nobody expected him to be a 20 goal scorer in his rookie year. As of the time of this article, Brady Tkachuk leads the team with 19 goals and it is highly likely that he reached the 20-25 mark by the end of the season.
This will help Ottawa Fans regain hope in a struggling team. Brady Tkachuk has thrived under the pressure ever since Mark Stone, whom many fans believed would be the next Captain was traded. In my opinion, the best way to describe this would be that Mark Stone was to Brady Tkachuk what Erik Karlsson was to Thomas Chabot. Last year was Thomas Chabot’s rookie year and he played surprisingly well. Ottawa fans knew how great he was, but didn’t expect him to excel as much as he did in his rookie year. Karlsson mentored the young defenseman and the time that he spent with Chabot truly paid dividends. Thomas Chabot leads the team in points and is already seen as a legitimate number one defenseman in the NHL.
The Future Is Bright
In conclusion, the rebuild has been a tough pill to swallow, however bright spots like Brady Tkachuk, Thomas Chabot, Anthony Duclair and more have been crucial to the Senators hopes at one day becoming competitive again. And this is why, I believe that acquiring Anthony Duclair could be one of, if not the best thing to happen to the Ottawa Senators in recent history.
stats from NHL.com and hockey-reference.com
featured image photo credit – Nikos Michals