"Holy (bleep). You look like a million bucks getting to the net, and then it just explodes."
John Tortorella didn't mince words when discussing Anthony Duclair's play on Saturday in Minnesota, and really, a problem that's followed the Blue Jackets throughout the 2018-19 season.
But this was far from just a Duclair roast; Tortorella knows that the speedy winger can be part of the solution here, and wants him to keep working towards that. But the inconsistencies both in his play away from the puck and prolonged stretches of invisibility have, at times, left the head coach with no choice but to sit Duclair.
"I thought he played really well," said Tortorella on Duclair after Saturday night's game at the Minnesota Wild. "He has got to slow himself down, and we might have something there."
"...every shift, (Duclair) looks like a threat. Get to the goal, shot wide, stickhandle to the corner. It's so aggravating."
Duclair, who signed a one-year deal worth $650,000 late in the summer signing period, has 10 goals and 15 points this season. He's been a bargain buy for a club looking for offensive depth, but he has only two goals since Nov. 15 – despite ample chances and a "finish" problem that came to a head last weekend.
What's interesting (but also understandable) about Duclair's issue of inconsistency is that it's something he's battled through his young career, detailed extensively here.
Without question, Duclair is a talented player with impeccable foot speed – but the Blue Jackets were betting on him to be willing to turn his rocky career around. There have been good moments and some not-so-good, but if he can start to show stable play in the back-half of this season, he can earn himself a regular spot in the lineup.
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