Anthony Duclair Moves Up To Second Forward Line After Encouraging Start To Season

By Chris Pennington on October 9, 2018 at 4:31 pm
Columbus Blue Jackets forward Anthony Duclair makes a play in the team's season opener against the Detroit Red Wings at Little Caesars Arena.

Rick Osentoski – USA TODAY Sports

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So far, there haven't been many downsides to having Anthony Duclair in the Blue Jackets' lineup.

Boone, "Luc," Nutivaara, Dubinsky...plenty of "ooooo" cheers in Nationwide Arena. OK, maybe there's one downside.

But on the ice, the speedy young forward who signed as a free agent with Columbus this past summer has immediately made an impact for his new club, and is being given more responsibility for doing so.

Duclair was reported to be lining up with Nick Foligno and Alexander Wennberg on the second forward line during practice yesterday after starting out on the fourth line in the Blue Jackets' season opener. Opportunity knocks.

It's probably safe to assume the injury of center Brandon Dubinsky has something to do with Duclair's early rise up the depth chart, but he's also proved himself as a player deserving of the promotion.

An impressive set up to Josh Anderson's goal against Detroit last Thursday might be only a taste of the impact that could Duclair could make when given more minutes.

This impact could extend further than points on the stat sheet, too; Duclair clearly has the speed to keep up in defensive situations as well, which could earn him some penalty kill time in the near future – time that will also need to be filled with Dubinsky out.

It's not a guarantee that Duclair will automatically be used in penalty killing situations, but he is a favorable choice considering current roster circumstances. John Tortorella seems to acknowledge this as well, reported from Brian Hedger of the Columbus Dispatch:

 “We’re going to kind of bit-and-piece it with him and try to get him to understand (penalty-killing). I think he can be really good at it."

The 22-year-old has risen to the occasion thus far in terms of at least earning himself a roster spot, and the Blue Jackets should hope that as his ice time grows, his confidence and productivity will too.

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