In the QMJHL, 16-year-olds aren’t supposed to step in and make an immediate impact, but Anthony Duclair must not have got that memo.
The talented winger has been an absolute force for his Québec Remparts so far, potting 22 goals, 24 assists, and 46 points in 50 games. Those numbers sit him eighth overall in the league amongst rookies and fifth on his team in scoring. But, what may be even more impressive, is the youngsters plus-25 rating that is second overall on the Remparts and 10th in the QMJHL.
Last season, Duclair notched 25 goals and 57 points in 34 games with his Lac Saint-Louis Midget Lions club, put up four assists in six games with Team Québec at the 2011 World U-17 Hockey Challenge, and was lights out at the Canada Winter Games. The Montreal product has tremendous wheels to go with excellent vision and hockey IQ, has a good accurate shot, makes his linemates better with his unselfish play and ability to dish the puck, has great hands and is able to elude defenders at will with his speed and shiftiness.
He uses every bit of his five-foot-11, 165-pound frame to get engaged physically, has an extremely high compete level and works hard on and off the ice.
Who has been the biggest help to you, as far as developing your game is concerned?
My dad would be the one who influenced me the most as far as developing my game, he has helped me through so much since I was little and still does.
What do you see being your best attributes as a player?
I believe my speed is my number one asset to my game. I always try to keep my feet moving, because it becomes tough for the opposing players. My vision and puck skills are also two attributes that I have in my game.
Is there an NHLer you mold your game after?
I like to think that I play like a Jonathan Toews, I love the way he competes and uses his speed, grit and hands to get around the opposing players.
You were awarded the $1,500 Montreal Canadiens scholarship for your in-class and on-ice skills last season in midget’s. Being that you are also a good student, what made you opt to go the CHL route instead of NCAA?
Education is a huge part of my life in my family and my parents put a lot of emphasis on doing well in school because education is so important. But when the Qc Remparts drafted me they gave me the option of doing online courses through correspondence with an American university. Therefore I got best of both worlds, playing for such a great organization and having the education that I needed.
What was your ‘welcome moment’ to the QMJHL?
My first QMJHL game playing at the Colisee Pepsi in front of 14,000 people was an experience that I’ll never forget. Unfortunately we lost the game but I recorded my first ever point in the league on the powerplay, and that was incredible to do that at home.
You’ve racked up a ton of goals from your minor hockey days in Lac Saint-Louis, and now in Québec, do you have one that stands out as your biggest thus far?
I think my sweetest goal this year would be my first goal I scored against Gatineau. It was a great feed from Grigorenko and even though all I had to do was tap the puck in the net, it was an unbelievable play overall.
What is the highlight of your young career to this point?
So far in my career, I’ve had many great experiences and great players I was fortunate to play with, but my highlight so far was to be part of the Subway Super Series against Russia this year. What made it even more special was to be playing it in front of my fans in Qc. To be part of the best 16-19 year old players in the league was real special for me especially doing it at a young age.
Being drafted into the NHL is a huge honor, but if you could pick the team that selects you in 2013, who would you choose?
I wouldn’t mind any team in the NHL to pick me, any team I would get drafted to I would be so happy but if I had to choose a team, I would take the Canadiens since that’s where all my family is and would like to stay close to home.