Anthony Duclair

On the NHL’s most hectic day of the year, Anthony Duclair received a meaningful phone call from a former coach and mentor in New York Islanders Head Coach Patrick Roy, who expressed his desire for Duclair to join his team.

“When your coach calls you and tells you [that] he wants you on his team, it's hard to say no, especially when it's someone that you have a tremendous amount of respect for," Duclair said.

Duclair’s connection to Roy dates back to his days in the QMJHL with the Quebec Remparts, where he played two seasons under Roy from 2011-13. The Pointe-Claire, Quebec native up 116 points in 118 games under Roy, en route to developing into an NHL-ready player.

“[Roy] is a big reason for me coming to the Island. I played for him, and I know what to expect,” Duclair said. “I'm extremely, extremely excited to be joining the Islanders and I’m very excited to be coached by him again. It’s a great fit.”

Roy and the Islanders organization wanted Duclair for good reason. The speedy, the 5’11”, 197 lbs. left winger has notched 146 goals and 303 points in his 10-year NHL career, notably eclipsing 30 goals in 2021-22 with the Florida Panthers. The Islanders inked Duclair to a four-year deal on Monday, showing their belief in the value the 28-year-old winger can bring to the group.

“I think my job is to bring some speed and some offense,” Duclair said. “Just looking at the roster, a lot of good players up front and a lot of skill. I'm just looking forward to amplifying that forward group, making sure I'm doing the best I can and each and every night.” 

Roy isn’t the only familiar face that Duclair is looking forward to reuniting with. The winger played with center JG Pageau for parts of two seasons with the Ottawa Senators from 2018-20. They developed chemistry as linemates, logging 216:34 TOI at five-on-five, creating 49 high danger chances and teaming up for seven goals through 79 games.

“I think we both found some success together as linemates in Ottawa,” Duclair said. “He's extremely smart, plays a 200-foot game and is very reliable. You really know what you’re going to get out of him each and every night. Very excited to be joining [Pageau] again.”

Ever since their playing days in Ottawa, the two maintained a strong friendship, so it’s no surprise that the two immediately hopped on the phone as soon as the news was official. 

“Pageau is an awesome dude, we stayed in contact ever since we both left Ottawa,” Duclair said. “He’s a close friend of mine, I’m excited to be joining him again. Talking to him about it today, he said the Islanders [organization] treat the boys very well and is very family oriented.”

Media Availability 7/1: Anthony Duclair

Ahead of training camp, the newly-acquired forward is planning on doing some exploring on Long Island to get acclimated. 

"I don't know much about the area to be honest, but I'm definitely going to be doing my research and getting there a little bit before training camp to familiarize myself, for sure," Duclair said.

With 563 games on his NHL resume, Duclair is familiar with the Islanders from an opponent’s perspective, noticing that the Islanders have a good culture that he’s thrilled to become a part of. 

“Ever since I’ve been in the league, I could tell that these guys are very tight off the ice,” Duclair said. “A bunch of guys in that locker room that have been there for a long time, the core players, I can tell it’s a family-like style there. I'm definitely going fit in really well with that, I'm looking forward to it.”

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