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01-10-2014, 03:11 PM
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Location: Quebec City
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Originally Posted by Pizza View Post
Just to boil it down for those of us who do not follow this prospect that closely.


What are the factors besides the stats that really stand out about this kid?

What has he done to turn around the perception that his development had stalled?

Maybe it's just as simple as he's putting up a wagon load of points.

Just asking if anyone would care to go in depth.
Four games into his 17 years old season, he injured himself pretty seriously to an ankle while driving the net. That made him miss the whole month of october and the first week of november. He was decently good when he came back, but seemed afraid of playing his previous, promising style and generally didn't show the extra step some people (namely, I) wanted to see from him.

He then went on a huge cold streak, starting somewhere in the second half of december. At some point in the following weeks, he had a single point in 12 games. He and Erne were suspended for a practice, as demanded by the veterans of the team. That likely wasn't all on the two players as the whole team was down at the time, but it probably had some base and it proved to be a key period. Duclair didn't pick it up right after that incident.

Not in terms of performances. However, in terms of effort and «working ethic», it sure did. An article came out at the time, making mention of Patrick Roy doing extra practice time alone with Duclair to help him improve. And it did bear fruits, for anyone watching him play regularly. He found back most of what he hadn't shown in a while, and by the end of the season, he had reached the kind of progression I wanted to see him achieve. But confidence isn't always easy to recover, and the points total didn't reflect his progression. 14 points in 16 games, less than he deserved. I have to specify that at the time, the team had morphed into a more defensive style, which was uncharacteristic of Roy's coaching, but still not the kind of numbers he could have had.

And then the playoffs came, and the chemistry the team had developped proved to be fragile. Some mention it was because the team laid back because of Grigorenko's return. It may have been a lukewarm streak at an inopportune time. Who knows. Duclair was no exception, and had OK playoffs with 8 points in 11 games. Not really his wrong. But it probably wasn't the kind of performance he needed to have scouts trust him that much more.

In the end, he showed more promises at the end of the season than an unattentive eye would perceive. He was drafted too far, in my opinion, if only by comparing with Erne who wasn't that far ahead of him. Mid to late 2nd it should have been; end of 3rd it was.

Duclair should be asked how the summer went, because I do not know how he felt. Did the late drafting fire him up? Did the pressure lower after the draft was finally done? Did he just go about with his training? All the same, he came to camp ready, with his style present as ever and with an exemplary attitude. The rest is «normal» development process. Although there is nothing ordinary with his play.

Incredible speed, good to very good stickhandling, but more importantly, the ability to satisfyingly exhibit both at once. A nose made for the net and very good game reading skills allow him to use his speed to affect the play in more than a way. Keeping his stick active at all times further enhance that quality. He's not perfect though: his passing hasn't been stellar this year (although not horrible either), his slapshot is no where to be seen and he isn't the most physical (not the least either). But in all three cases, he finds way to compensate. He's good enough to keep the puck a bit longer if he so needs. His wristshot is good enough and fits his style better. He finds ways to use his stick skills to win contested pucks. When all is said and done, he has the tools, and it seems like he knows where to be heading now. How far he can go is mostly up to him... and the open-mindedness of people directing him. In the long run, if he is to be used under a conventional «Tortorella» mindset, I do not know how well his style would adapt. Explains a lot if you ask me, see WJHC.

Well, I hope that was entertaining.

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