All-Star Game Comes at a Great Time For Anthony Duclair

As the Ottawa Senators enter their bye-week ahead of the upcoming All-Star break, Anthony Duclair will be happy for more reasons than the chance to appear in his first All-Star game.

Anthony Duclair has surprised everyone this season, leading the Senators in both goals (21) and points (33). He’s been a key force in a Senators offence that has been relatively consistent, despite the fact that the team does not boast any high profile scoring talent. It’s unsurprising that the Quebec native was chosen to represent Ottawa at the All-Star game in St. Louis, alongside teammate Brady Tkachuk.

While excitement should be at an all-time high for Anthony Duclair, there’s no doubt that he and Senators fans are slightly concerned over his current ten game goal drought.

There is no doubt that he’s been consistent this season, highlighted by a phenomenal, albeit unsustainable December where he scored 11 goals in 13 games, and surpassed his previous career high. Unfortunately he was due for some regression at some point.

Duclair’s struggles point out one scary trend in his recent play; he simply is not shooting the puck enough. Throughout the 2019-20 season, he’s had only three games without recording a shot on goal, and they’ve all come within the last six games.

More shockingly, he’s also failed epically to be on the right side of the team’s expected goals percentage (xGF%), with a lowly 32.69xGF% during this cold stretch. Compare this to the previous 37 games, where he was at a 52.05xGF%, and it illustrates a pretty shocking drop-off (-19.36xGF%).  (All stats via NaturalStatTrick)

There is no stand-out explanation for his recent poor performance, but a good start for Anthony Duclair would be reverting back to the ancient hockey rhetoric of “putting pucks on net.”

In this stretch, Duclair has primarily been deployed alongside Chris Tierney and Vladislav Namestnikov. Perhaps reuniting Duclair with Brady Tkachuk and Jean-Gabriel Pageau can reignite the flame within him.

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It’s been less than a year since Duclair joined the Senators, and nobody could have imagined it going as well as it has. However, one thing for certain is that with performance comes expectation, and Duclair has rightfully earned the expectations on his shoulders. Perhaps a weekend having fun with the elite of the NHL, is just what Duclair needs.