GLENDALE – Anthony Duclair was playing for his junior team Sunday night in Quebec when his coached informed him during the second intermission that the New York Rangers had just traded him to the Coyotes a few minutes earlier.
"I was in complete shock," Duclair said. "I didn’t know what to think."
Duclair, 19, returned to the ice for the third period and his team, the Quebec Remparts, beat Chicoutimi 5-1. After the game, Duclair said the reality of the trade started to sink in and he began thinking about his future.
"I don’t know much about Arizona but I know a lot of their good young players," Duclair said. "They are headed in the right direction. I want to come to training camp and make a good first impression."
Duclair knows well fellow Coyotes prospects Max Domi, Louis Domingue, Yan Pavel Laplante and Laurent Dauphin. He and Domi were linemates for Team Canada at this year’s IIHF World Junior Championship and won gold medals.
Coyotes General Manager Don Maloney said Duclair was the key component of the trade, in which Arizona sent defensemen Keith Yandle and Chris Summers to the Rangers for Duclair and defenseman John Moore. The teams also traded some draft picks: Arizona got a second-round pick in 2015 and a first-round pick in 2016. The Rangers received a fourth-round draft pick in 2016.
"We're resetting this team," Maloney said. "We're gaining assets that are going to in three, four, five years from now will put us in a position to win us the Stanley Cup."
He added, "Going into this reset, it's hard to get top young skilled players. You have to give to get... I'm really happy with what the return is. Anthony Duclair is a terrific, elite, young scoring winger. When he became a part of this deal we got excited... You don't find this type of ability on this young a player very often. This is an organization that needed to introduce that type of talent - and now. He'll have every opportunity to make this team next season."
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The Rangers selected Duclair with the 80th overall pick in the 2013 NHL Draft. He played 18 games for them this season and notched one goal and six assists before returning to Quebec for a fourth season.
"I try to use my speed in every aspect of the game," Duclair said. "I’m more of an offensive guy but playing those 18 games in the NHL helped my defensive game and I’ve gotten much better at it. I’ve got to be a good two-way player because that’s what I have to do to play at the next level. I learned a lot from a lot of great veteran players with the Rangers and I can’t thank them enough."
Duclair will not ponder Sunday’s trade for very long. He wants to get back to focusing on finishing his junior season. It’s almost playoff time and Quebec is hosting this year’s Mastercard Memorial Cup.
"I want to focus on the present," Duclair said. "It’s a big year for our team."
Moore, 24, totaled one goal and five assists in 38 games with New York this season.
"John Moore is a young, strong skating, puck moving defenseman who will solidify our core group on the blue line," Maloney said.
The trade comes a day after the Coyotes acquired defenseman Klas Dahlbeck in a deal that center Antoine Vermette to Chicago. The Coyotes also landed a first-round draft pick in this year’s draft in the trade.
On Sunday, Maloney said Dahlbeck would report to the Coyotes on Monday.
"We have to build up our base to get to the point where this is the last time we're going through a season like this," Maloney said. "We'll take our lumps and we'll get through it, and then we'll be better for it. It might take us some time but when you have ownership that has a clear idea of where they want to take a team and understand the timeline to get there, now you have a chance to build a lasting winner."
NOTE: Maloney confirmed that injured forwards Mikkel Boedker (ruptured spleen) and Martin Hanzal (back surgery) would not play again this season.