Why the Rangers need to consider a reunion with Anthony Duclair at this year’s trade deadline

San Jose Sharks left wing Anthony Duclair (10) skates down ice for a shot on goal attempt in the first period against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

In the 2013 NHL draft, the New York Rangers selected winger Anthony Duclair in the third round. His tenure with the Blueshirts only lasted 18 games in the 2014-15 season before he was shipped off to Arizona, but he’s had an overall solid career across six different teams since being traded away. Now, as the Rangers are dealing with a depleted right-wing position, they should consider the possibility of a potential reunion with Duclair.

The Rangers desperately need a top-six forward with two key players injured

If there’s one position in which the Blueshirts need some more depth, it’s the right wing. A disappointing season from Blake Wheeler and a long-term injury from Kaapo Kakko have caused a massive hole in the top six. The team’s stars have managed to keep the offensive production afloat, but the Rangers must find a solid winger to join the first line if they want to remain as serious Cup contenders.

Duclair is the perfect player to fit in with Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad on the first line. He may only have 11 points in 28 games this season, but he’s doing so on what is an overall terrible San Jose team. It’s also important to note that just two seasons ago, Duclair managed to score over 30 goals with the Florida Panthers. His career hasn’t taken a turn for the worse, he just can not succeed on a team that gives him zero help. If he were to be acquired by the Rangers, there’s no doubt that the trio of Kreider-Zibanejad-Duclair would be a dominant force.

Duclair is an affordable option to consider

Wherever the Rangers look to bolster their first line, it needs to come at an extremely cheap cost. Given the Blueshirts’ current cap situation, there isn’t a whole lot of money to be thrown around at the trade deadline this season.

Duclair’s cap hit comes at just $3 million, and he’s in the final year of his contract. With the Sharks acting as desperate sellers this season, Rangers’ GM Chris Drury could easily convince San Jose to retain a hefty chunk of that cap hit if he plays his cards right. There are options on the table this year, but given his offensive potential and affordable contract, Drury needs to consider a reunion between the Rangers and Duclair.