Toronto Maple Leafs 4 Trades in 4 Days: Anthony Duclair

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - MARCH 25: Kevin Lankinen #32 of the Chicago Blackhawks stops a shot by Anthony Duclair #91 of the Florida Panthers at the United Center on March 25, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - MARCH 25: Kevin Lankinen #32 of the Chicago Blackhawks stops a shot by Anthony Duclair #91 of the Florida Panthers at the United Center on March 25, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Maple Leafs have been searching for a Top 6 winger for the past few months, but as the NHL trade deadline approaches and trades start to materialize, the list of names will start to shrink for Kyle Dubas.

In Part One of Four Trades in Four Days, the idea of Max Domi to the Toronto Maple Leafs was touted. Domi was the man of the hour then and Part Two brings a former line-mate of Domi’s to the forefront in the shape of 25-year-old winger Anthony Duclair.

Duclair and Domi formed two parts of an immensely productive top line for Canada’s 2015 World Juniors gold medal team. Along with Sam Reinhart, Duclair and Domi were excellent for Canada but have all fared differently in the NHL.

It has been Duclair who has struggled the most and by virtue of that has also bounced around the most, finding himself on his sixth NHL team, and fourth since 2018. There was a stint on the Rangers, then an extended period with Domi in Arizona followed by time in both Chicago and Columbus. Then it was off to the Ottawa Senators before landing in Florida, with the Panthers giving Duclair a one-year $1.7 million deal.

Toronto Maple Leafs and Anthony Duclair

Of all of the four trades in this series, this is perhaps the one that has been given the least amount of thought since its straight out of deep left field. Yet it could prove to have the greatest upside for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

It is important to note that Duclair is currently out with a shoulder injury and has been since March 30th. However, Duclair might re-join the team during their road trip with Saturday possibly seeing him draw back in.

Duclair isn’t the Top 6 winger the Toronto Maple Leafs have been rumoured to be looking for, but he’s your option because you’ve put your faith in the play of Alex Galchenyuk. Since his arrival in Toronto, Galchenyuk has improved game on game and there is no reason to think that Galchenyuk can’t continue to rediscover his best form on Tavares wing.

The addition of Duclair is a compliment to the Top 9 and his cap hit of only $1.7 million makes this by far and away the easiest deal for the Leafs to pull off with how little cap space Toronto has.

Is Duclair that much of an upgrade to the bottom six? He has 16 points in 29 games which is solid production from a lower end player. Bear in mind that Ilya Mikheyev has just 12 points in 40 games and Alexander Barabanov has one point in 12 games. Toronto needs more scoring and Duclair can help that cause.

A third line with the speed of Mikheyev on one wing and the underrated eye for goal in Duclair on the other could provide the Toronto Maple Leafs with much more potent depth and balance that would test teams in the playoffs.

Duclair is only one season removed from a 23 goal, 40-point year in Ottawa and while he is a streaky scorer he’s still better than what the Leafs have contributing on their bottom lines right now. He is a restricted free agent at the end of the season which gives the Leafs some extra control over him, and depending on how the Leafs feel with Nick Robertson next season, Duclair could stay with the team and offer some solid depth at a low-cost level.

If you’re unsure about Duclair being worth it, remind yourself of the fact that he scored 50 goals in his last full junior season. Coming in to the NHL, he’s proven even in limited time and rarely on dominant or competitive teams, he’s a quality shooter and can finish in tight spaces, something exemplified by his career shooting percentage of 12.1%. (stats from

What makes this deal a steal for the Toronto Maple Leafs is that it is one of the few deals that likely doesn’t mean that they have to part ways with Alexander Kerfoot. At the very least it allows the Leafs to keep Kerfoot for a different deal.

A familiar theme is that Alexander Barabanov is the one to suffer, possibly going the other way along with a middling prospect. Whichever way you cut this one, Duclair can be traded for without the Leafs having to part way with any core piece or sizeable asset.

Leafs Should Trade for Max Domi. dark. Next

Duclair is an improvement over Barabanov in every aspect and he can be brought in without any major surgery needed on the depth chart. For Kyle Dubas, it’s as close to a win-win as possible.