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Early Line Opportunity Shows Duclair Made Right Choice With Panthers

Anthony Duclair seems to have made the right choice going with the Florida Panthers as the team will start him on the top line.

On Sunday, a number of teams began discussing who might play where and what line combinations would look like as NHL camps opened up in different cities. For Anthony Duclair and Florida Panthers, it looks like a match made in heaven as the forward got some excellent news early. He’ll be been given a prime opportunity out of camp.

Related: Duclair Reveals Why He Represented Himself in Free Agency

Florida Panthers head coach Joel Quenneville revealed on Sunday that Duclair is expected to start training camp on the team’s No. 1 line next to Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau. This news comes according to FloridaHockeyNow’s George Richards.

This is great news for Duclair who didn’t sign with an NHL club until the last few moments of unrestricted free agency. Choosing to represent himself in negotiations, the belief was the he misread the market, valued himself too high and no team would bite. That is, not until the Panthers landed him on a one-year, $1.7 million contract.

While he was one of the last to sign, he did have an impressive season with the Ottawa Senators in 2019-20 as he tallied 23 goals and 40 points in 66 games. There’s every reason to think he could mesh well on the Panthers’ top line and produce. It also sounds like Duclair and Alex Wennberg will get the first shot of taking Dadonov and Hoffman’s spots on the first unit power play.

Anthony Duclair will get first line shot with Florida Panthers

Is This Duclair’s Spot to Lose?

With the losses of Evgenii Dadonov and Mike Hoffman off the roster, the Panthers had a huge hole to fill and an opening for a player like Duclair to come in and show well early. He’ll get the chance to do so and it sounds like the slot is basically his to lose.

The forward has a bit of a history traveling around the NHL and sometimes not meshing well. He’s been inconsistent and moved often. For Duclair, if he can make the fit work, this might be one of those rare instances where he shows a team he’s absolutely worth investing in longer-term.

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