Forward Anthony Duclair will get a fresh start with the Chicago Blackhawks, where he’ll have a chance to return to fantasy relevance in a top-six role.
Duclair (LW/RW, 3 percent owned, 396th in Yahoo) was acquired by the Blackhawks in a four-player trade with the Arizona Coyotes for forward Richard Panik (LW/RW, 17 percent, 264th) on Wednesday. Duclair has the most fantasy value to gain from the trade with an opportunity to play on a line with either Patrick Kane (20th in Yahoo) or Jonathan Toews (59th).
[RELATED: Duclair traded to Blackhawks by Coyotes for Panik]
The 22-year-old averaged 13:27 per game for the Coyotes, but it’s significant that he led them in goals per 60 minutes (1.22) through 33 games. He has had a high shooting percentage (13.2 percent; nine goals on 68 shots on goal), but did have a much higher rate as a rookie in 2015-16 (19.0).
He had NHL career highs in goals (20), assists (24), plus/minus (plus-12), 12 power-play points and 105 SOG that season in a top-six role primarily with center Martin Hanzal and either wing Max Domi or Tobias Rieder to finish 140th overall in Yahoo. That’s further proof that Duclair brings untapped fantasy potential to Chicago.
Duclair, who can become a restricted free agent July 1, joins a Stanley Cup Playoff contender with the chance to get better usage in a lineup that has been clicking offensively. Chicago got off to a slow start but is 9-4-1 since Dec. 8, outscoring opponents 49-37. Chicago went 4-for-6 on the power play in an 8-2 win against the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday.
Video: NYR@ARI: Duclair rips home a power-play goal
How this trade affects Chicago’s assortment of wings depends on lineup placement. Vinnie Hinostroza (C/LW, 10 percent owned) has a six-game point streak playing with Toews and Brandon Saad, and Nick Schmaltz (C/LW, 33 percent owned) has become relevant again in all formats with 15 points (eight goals, seven assists) in his past 13 games with Kane and Ryan Hartman. Schmaltz can play center or wing, giving Duclair a feasible path to a top-six role.
Chicago’s third line should be much improved once Artem Anisimov (upper body) returns from injured reserve. Panik played on the third line lately with wing Patrick Sharp and center David Kampf, with Alex DeBrincat bouncing from the third line to Kane’s line in recent games.
Panik doesn’t instill much fantasy confidence moving to the Coyotes but does have some sneaky upside if he plays on the top line and/or first power-play unit. He had eight points (five goals, three assists) in his first nine games but has become known for his streaky play over the past two seasons. He had a seven-game pointless streak and a separate 15-game stretch with no goals and one assist this season.
From a DFS standpoint, Duclair’s goal-scoring flair makes him a wait-and-see option for his potential Blackhawks debut this week, especially if given top-nine usage. He did not play when Chicago hosted the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday, but the Blackhawks play two more home games, against the Winnipeg Jets on Friday and Detroit Red Wings on Sunday, before their five-day break.