Eastern Edge: Hot Start for Duclair, Cold Start for Petry

Brennan Des


In this week's Eastern Edge: Duclair's hot; Petry's not.

Fortunes can change quickly in the NHL and one player on this list started on the fourth line for his team in the season opener. The other player is the cornerstone of his team's blue line, has four straight 40-point seasons, but is on pace for 12 points this year. Here are the cases of Anthony Duclair and Jeff Petry.

Anthony Duclair

The Panthers winger is off to a strong start this season with eight goals and four assists in his first 12 games. While there are reasons to be optimistic about his fantasy value this year, I think it goes without saying that his current point-per game pace is unsustainable. Before I rain on the parade, let's quickly cover some reasons for optimism.

First, Duclair has the luxury of playing beside Aleksander Barkov, one of the league's best centers. Barkov's two-way excellence allows him and his line mates to quickly turn defense into offense. At even strength, Barkov, Duclair, and Carter Verhaeghe control an impressive 61.5-percent of the shot-share. Not only do they outshoot and out-chance the opposition, they also capitalize on those opportunities, outscoring opponents 9 to 1 so far this year. In addition, although the sample size is small, Duclair seems to be seeing a greater role under interim head coach Andrew Brunette than he saw under former coach Joel Quenneville. In seven appearances under Quenneville, Duclair averaged just over 12 minutes per game. In contrast, he's seen over 16 minutes a night through five games under Brunette.

While the coaching change could mean an increased role for Duclair, he's still not seeing much time with the man advantage. There was only one game this season where Duclair saw significant power-play time and that was November 6th against Carolina. He was on the ice for 49-percent of Florida's PP time against the Hurricanes (just over three minutes) and managed three power-play points. However, based on my understanding, the only reason he saw so much power-play time that game was because both Barkov and Sam Bennett were sidelined with injuries. Florida has an abundance of offensive talent, so it's difficult to imagine Duclair cracking the top unit when the team is healthy. That's an issue because Florida's top unit gets much more ice time than the second group. If you're just looking at his overall stats, you'll see that Duclair has three power-play points in 12 games this year. Now that you have more context, hopefully it's easier to see why he won't actually score the 20 power-play points he's currently on pace for. You'll also notice that Duclair has eight goals on 24 shots, meaning he's scored on 33-percent of his attempts. That kind of shooting percentage isn't sustainable over a full season, so it's highly unlikely he keeps scoring at this pace. 

Jeff Petry

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