MONTREAL | Anthony Duclair opted for a fairly rare bet in the NHL spheres. At 25, he fired his agent Philippe Lecavalier to represent himself.
Duclair has finally found his next destination just days before the NHL season opens, slated for Jan. 13. On December 17, he signed a one-year, 1.7 million contract with the Florida Panthers.
It will therefore be a sixth team already in the NHL after stoppages with the New York Rangers, Arizona Coyotes, Chicago Blackhawks, Columbus Blue Jackets and Ottawa Senators.
In a videoconference hosted by the Panthers on Saturday, Duclair explained his decision to negotiate the latter contract without the intervention of an agent.
“I’ve been moving around the NHL for a few years,” said Duclair. This summer, I just wanted to take my career in my own hands. I wanted to share my story with some general managers in the NHL. I also wanted to tell them that I am not the same Anthony Duclair when I was 20. I have matured a lot, both on and off the ice. ”
“I received a similar response from several NHL GMs. They also told me that he saw it in me that I was now a more mature young man in my game. I know several GMs respected what I was doing. I wanted to know the DG’s responses without going through an agent. Sometimes the agent tries to protect you. I had in mind to represent myself and I also loved having the opportunity to learn about the business side of hockey. “
Not a unique case
In the summer of 2017, Andrei Markov chose to negotiate his contract with Marc Bergevin himself. Markov had ultimately failed to come to an agreement with the Canadian. The Russian ended his career without ever reaching the 1,000-game mark in the NHL and with the CH. He played for two years with AK-Bars Kazan and another season with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl in the KHL before hanging up his skates after the 2019-20 season.
In July 2018, Drew Doughty also surprised the hockey world by thanking his longtime agents, Don Meehan and Mark Guy. The defender had himself negotiated his very lucrative contract extension of 8 years and 88 million (11 million per year).
Doughty, however, had immense negotiating power with the Kings with his two Stanley Cup rings (2012-2014), his Norris Trophy title (2016) and his two Olympic gold medals with the Canadian team in 2010. and 2014.
Duclair didn’t get a contract at the Doughty, but he did manage to find a new team in the NHL, unlike Markov who imagined himself only in Montreal.
In Ottawa last year, Duclair hit personal highs in goals (23), shots (189) and average playing time (16:16). With 40 points in just 66 games, he had his best production since his second season in the NHL where he had 44 points in 81 games with the Coyotes.
“I had a lot of time to analyze the lineups of the NHL teams. I was looking for a team where I could fit well. I believe that will be the case with the Panthers. They have very talented players like Barkov and Huberdeau. I also know Bill Zito, the CEO of the Panthers, well enough to have known him with the Blue Jackets. “
Duclair also wanted to deny information. He never turned down a long-term deal with the Senators. Different sites were talking about a three-year proposal averaging 4.25 million per year.
“I had received a one-year contract offer from the Senators,” said Duclair. I read rumors on the internet and I was just laughing. I found it funny. People have the right to speak. But I know what the Senses have offered me. Now I’m just happy to join the Panthers. “